A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens

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A Christmas Carol

I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it. Their faithful Friend and Servant, C. D. December, 1843.

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Stave 1: Marley’s Ghost
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a doornail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffinnail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don’t know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad

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There it stood.A Christmas Carol event. but he answered to both names. The mention of Marley’s funeral brings me back to the point I started from. scraping. grasping. in an easterly wind. Scrooge! a squeezing.stone. Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind. wrenching. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. clutching. but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral. covetous. old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain. or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night. than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot — say Saint Paul’s Churchyard for instance — literally to astonish his son’s weak mind. from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire. years afterwards. upon his own ramparts. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge. 4 of 138 . If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet’s Father died before the play began. Scrooge never painted out Old Marley’s name. This must be distinctly understood. and sometimes Marley. It was all the same to him. above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley.

could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect.A Christmas Carol secret. They often ‘came down’ handsomely. he iced his office in the dogdays. and sleet. and snow. No warmth could warm. and solitary as an oyster. ‘My dear Scrooge. and self-contained. and Scrooge never did. The cold within him froze his old features. nipped his pointed nose. no children asked him what it was o’clock. Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say. stiffened his gait. and his wiry chin. how are you? When will you come to see me?’ No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle. and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. and hail. He carried his own low temperature always about with him. and on his eyebrows. and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas. The heaviest rain. his thin lips blue. no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place. no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose. A frosty rime was on his head. of Scrooge. External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. and when they saw him coming on. no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Even the blind men’s dogs appeared to know him. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he. shrivelled his cheek. would tug their owners into doorways 5 of 138 . no wintry weather chill him. made his eyes red. with gladsome looks.

The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole. beating their hands upon their breasts. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down. dark master!’ But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. 6 of 138 . on Christmas Eve — old Scrooge sat busy in his countinghouse. the houses opposite were mere phantoms. and was brewing on a large scale. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life. one might have thought that Nature lived hard by. Once upon a time — of all the good days in the year. go wheezing up and down. and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them.A Christmas Carol and up courts. and was so dense without. and then would wag their tails as though they said. bleak. The city clocks had only just gone three. ‘No eye at all is better than an evil eye. that although the court was of the narrowest. like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. It was cold. obscuring everything. biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside. was what the knowing ones call ‘nuts’ to Scrooge. but it was quite dark already — it had not been light all day — and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices. warning all human sympathy to keep its distance.

his eyes sparkled. ‘Humbug!’ He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost. I am sure?’ 7 of 138 . his face was ruddy and handsome. that he was all in a glow. but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Scrooge had a very small fire. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter. for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room. this nephew of Scrooge’s. But he couldn’t replenish it. he failed. was copying letters. and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel. and tried to warm himself at the candle. who in a dismal little cell beyond. who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach. not being a man of a strong imagination. ‘Bah!’ said Scrooge. in which effort. ‘Christmas a humbug. uncle! God save you!’ cried a cheerful voice. ‘A merry Christmas. uncle!’ said Scrooge’s nephew. a sort of tank. and his breath smoked again. It was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew. ‘You don’t mean that.A Christmas Carol The door of Scrooge’s counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk.

‘keep Christmas in your own way.’ ‘Don’t be cross. a time for finding yourself a year older. should be boiled with his own pudding. then.A Christmas Carol ‘I do. and let me keep it in mine. ‘every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips.’ Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment. ‘Nephew!’ returned the uncle sternly.’ said Scrooge. uncle!’ said the nephew.’ said Scrooge indignantly. ‘What else can I be. ‘What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You’re rich enough. but not an hour richer.’ 8 of 138 . said ‘Bah!’ again. ‘Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.’ ‘Come. a time for balancing your books and having every item in ‘em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will.’ returned the nephew gaily. He should!’ ‘Uncle!’ pleaded the nephew. and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. and followed it up with ‘Humbug.’ returned the uncle. ‘when I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas! What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money.

in the long calendar of the year. And therefore.’ ‘Let me leave it alone. I dare say. by which I have not profited. ‘But you don’t keep it. and I say. and will do me good.’ said Scrooge. I believe that it has done me good.’ returned the nephew. Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety. when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin. ‘Christmas among the rest. and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. God bless it!’ The clerk in the Tank involuntarily applauded. if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time. when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely. then. though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket.A Christmas Carol ‘Keep it!’ repeated Scrooge’s nephew. forgiving. charitable. he poked the fire. a kind. uncle. pleasant time: the only time I know of. and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave. and extinguished the last frail spark for ever. 9 of 138 . ‘Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!’ ‘There are many things from which I might have derived good.

’ he added. ‘Because I fell in love. as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas. ‘and you’ll keep your Christmas by losing your situation! You’re quite a powerful speaker. But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas. sir. uncle. to find you so resolute. why cannot we be friends?’ ‘Good afternoon. He went the whole length of the expression. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?’ ‘Good afternoon. and said that he would see him in that extremity first. ‘Good afternoon!’ ‘Nay. but you never came to see me before that happened. ‘I want nothing from you.’ ‘Don’t be angry. to which I have been a party.A Christmas Carol ‘Let me hear another sound from you. turning to his nephew. We have never had any quarrel. Come! Dine with us tomorrow. indeed he did.’ said Scrooge.’ said Scrooge. ‘I am sorry.’ ‘Because you fell in love!’ growled Scrooge. ‘I wonder you don’t go into Parliament. uncle.’ said Scrooge. ‘Why?’ ‘Why did you get married?’ said Scrooge. 10 of 138 . ‘But why?’ cried Scrooge’s nephew. with all my heart.’ Scrooge said that he would see him — yes. I ask nothing of you.

’ muttered Scrooge. for he returned them cordially.A Christmas Carol and I’ll keep my Christmas humour to the last. ‘There’s another fellow. I believe. So A Merry Christmas. or Mr. this very night. He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greetings of the season on the clerk. with their hats off.’ said Scrooge. Scrooge. They were portly gentlemen.’ said one of the gentlemen. They had books and papers in their hands. pleasant to behold. talking about a merry Christmas.’ said Scrooge. Marley?’ ‘Mr. and now stood. Marley has been dead these seven years. uncle!’ ‘Good afternoon. and bowed to him. and a wife and family. had let two other people in.’ Scrooge replied.’ This lunatic. in Scrooge’s office. in letting Scrooge’s nephew out. with fifteen shillings a week. referring to his list. who cold as he was. His nephew left the room without an angry word. ‘Scrooge and Marley’s. ‘Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. who overheard him: ‘my clerk.’ 11 of 138 . was warmer than Scrooge. I’ll retire to Bedlam. notwithstanding. ‘And A Happy New Year!’ ‘Good afternoon. ‘He died seven years ago.

‘And the Union workhouses?’ demanded Scrooge. for they had been two kindred spirits. who suffer greatly at the present time. ‘At this festive season of the year. ‘Are they still in operation?’ ‘They are.’ ‘Are there no prisons?’ asked Scrooge. laying down the pen again.’ said the gentleman. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries. ‘it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute. It certainly was.’ said the gentleman. and handed the credentials back. then?’ said Scrooge.’ ‘The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour. Still. ‘Plenty of prisons. sir. hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts.A Christmas Carol ‘We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner. taking up a pen. presenting his credentials.’ 12 of 138 . Mr.’ returned the gentleman. ‘I wish I could say they were not. ‘Both very busy. At the ominous word ‘liberality. Scrooge.’ Scrooge frowned.’ said the gentleman. and shook his head. sir.

’ said Scrooge. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough.’ ‘But you might know it. ‘You wish to be anonymous?’ ‘I wish to be left alone. because it is a time. that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course.’ ‘Many can’t go there. and means of warmth. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. ‘Since you ask me what I wish. when Want is keenly felt. ‘I’m very glad to hear it. What shall I put you down for?’ ‘Nothing!’ Scrooge replied.’ said Scrooge.’ returned the gentleman. and many would rather die. ‘they had better do it.’ ‘If they would rather die. that is my answer. Besides — excuse me — I don’t know that. 13 of 138 .’ ‘Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude.’ said Scrooge. from what you said at first. We choose this time. gentlemen.A Christmas Carol ‘Oh! I was afraid. and those who are badly off must go there. and Abundance rejoices. of all others.’ observed the gentleman. ‘a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink. and decrease the surplus population.

and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him. whose gruff old bell was always peeping slily down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall. and conduct them on their way. the gentlemen withdrew. and not to interfere with other people’s. The brightness of the shops where holly 14 of 138 .’ Scrooge returned. In the main street at the corner of the court. Mine occupies me constantly.A Christmas Carol ‘It’s not my business. Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so. Good afternoon. gentlemen!’ Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point. The cold became intense. and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds. and turned to misanthropic ice. some labourers were repairing the gas-pipes. The ancient tower of a church. proffering their services to go before horses in carriages. round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered: warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze in rapture. and had lighted a great fire in a brazier. ‘It’s enough for a man to understand his own business. with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. that people ran about with flaring links. its overflowing sullenly congealed. The water-plug being left in solitude. became invisible. Scrooge returned his labours with an improved opinion of himself.

sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows. and colder! Piercing. Foggier yet. gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs. whom he had fined five shillings on the previous Monday for being drunk and bloodthirsty in the streets. stirred up to-morrow’s pudding in his garret. Download the free trial version. The Lord Mayor. merry gentleman! May nothing you dismay!’ 15 of 138 . Poulterers’ and grocers’ trades became a splendid joke. and edit PDF. made pale faces ruddy as they passed. instead of using his familiar weapons. searching. then indeed he would have roared to lusty purpose. a glorious pageant.eBook brought to you by A Christmas Carol Create. The owner of one scant young nose. and even the little tailor. biting cold. gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor’s household should. in the stronghold of the mighty Mansion House. view. stooped down at Scrooge’s keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol: but at the first sound of ‘God bless you. with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do. while his lean wife and the baby sallied out to buy the beef. If the good Saint Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit’s nose with a touch of such weather as that.

’ said Scrooge. ‘and it’s not fair. ‘If quite convenient. ‘you don’t think me ill-used. ‘But I suppose you must have the whole day. buttoning his great-coat to the chin. and put on his hat. ‘A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!’ said Scrooge. ‘And yet. and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the Tank. that the singer fled in terror.’ The clerk observed that it was only once a year. I suppose?’ said Scrooge. you’d think yourself illused. sir. Be here all the earlier next morning. At length the hour of shutting up the counting. and Scrooge walked out with a growl. leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost. I’ll be bound?’ The clerk smiled faintly. The office was closed in a twinkling. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it.’ ‘It’s not convenient. 16 of 138 .house arrived. who instantly snuffed his candle out. With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted from his stool.A Christmas Carol Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action. when I pay a day’s wages for no work.’ The clerk promised that he would.’ said Scrooge. ‘You’ll want all day to-morrow.

that it seemed as if the Genius of the Weather sat in mournful meditation on the threshold. and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could pelt. twenty times. the other rooms being all let out as offices. playing at hide-and-seek with other houses. 17 of 138 . The yard was so dark that even Scrooge. where it had so little business to be. with the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no great-coat). in honour of its being Christmas Eve. The fog and frost so hung about the black old gateway of the house. to play at blindman’s-buff. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner.A Christmas Carol and the clerk. and forgotten the way out again. Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern. went home to bed. who knew its every stone. It was old enough now. was fain to grope with his hands. and dreary enough. in a lowering pile of building up a yard. went down a slide on Cornhill. for nobody lived in it but Scrooge. They were a gloomy suite of rooms. at the end of a lane of boys. and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker’sbook. that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house. and having read all the newspapers.

if he can. and its livid colour. saw in the knocker. and. made it horrible. And then let any man explain to me. and livery. The hair was curiously stirred. even including — which is a bold word — the corporation. since his last mention of his seven years’ dead partner that afternoon. during his whole residence in that place. it is a fact. but Marley’s face. Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley. except that it was very large. but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face 18 of 138 . though the eyes were wide open. It is also a fact. but had a dismal light about it. but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead. having his key in the lock of the door. aldermen. how it happened that Scrooge. without its undergoing any intermediate process of change — not a knocker. like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the city of London. that Scrooge had seen it. Marley’s face. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were.A Christmas Carol Now. night and morning. as if by breath or hot air. That. they were perfectly motionless. It was not angry or ferocious. that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door.

except the screws and nuts that held the knocker on. To say that he was not startled. and he did look cautiously behind it first. so he said ‘Pooh. as if he half-expected to be terrified with the sight of Marley’s pigtail sticking out into the hall. pooh!’ and closed it with a bang. with a moment’s irresolution.A Christmas Carol and beyond its control. and walked across the hall. before he shut the door. would be untrue. walked in. The sound resounded through the house like thunder. He fastened the door. slowly too: trimming his candle as he went. But there was nothing on the back of the door. and lighted his candle. and up the stairs. appeared to have a separate peal of echoes of its own. or that his blood was not conscious of a terrible sensation to which it had been a stranger from infancy. and every cask in the wine-merchant’s cellars below. As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon. But he put his hand upon the key he had relinquished. 19 of 138 . Scrooge was not a man to be frightened by echoes. He did pause. it was a knocker again. Every room above. turned it sturdily. rather than a part or its own expression.

and Scrooge liked it. Nobody under the bed. Lumber-room 20 of 138 . There was plenty of width for that. Darkness is cheap. and the little saucepan of gruel (Scrooge had a cold in his head) upon the hob. All as they should be. Half a dozen gas-lamps out of the street wouldn’t have lighted the entry too well. nobody in the closet. nobody in his dressing-gown. or through a bad young Act of Parliament. a small fire in the grate. nobody under the sofa. Sitting-room. spoon and basin ready. and taken it broadwise. But before he shut his heavy door. with the splinterbar towards the wall and the door towards the balustrades: and done it easy. but I mean to say you might have got a hearse up that staircase. lumber-room. not caring a button for that. Up Scrooge went. which is perhaps the reason why Scrooge thought he saw a locomotive hearse going on before him in the gloom. he walked through his rooms to see that all was right.A Christmas Carol You may talk vaguely about driving a coach-and-six up a good old flight of stairs. Nobody under the table. which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall. bedroom. He had just enough recollection of the face to desire to do that. so you may suppose that it was pretty dark with Scrooge’s dip. and room to spare.

with power to shape some picture on its surface from the disjointed fragments of his thoughts. Queens of Sheba. before he could extract the least sensation of warmth from such a handful of fuel. There were Cains and Abels. Quite satisfied. Pharaohs’ daughters. Apostles putting off to sea in butter-boats. built by some Dutch merchant long ago. he closed his door. Angelic messengers descending through the air on clouds like feather-beds. and locked himself in. and a poker. If each smooth tile had been a blank at first. Belshazzars. washing-stand on three legs. double-locked himself in. there would have been a copy of old Marley’s head on every one. Thus secured against surprise. Old fire-guards. The fireplace was an old one. came like the ancient Prophet’s rod. It was a very low fire indeed. and swallowed up the whole. which was not his custom. hundreds of figures to attract his thoughts — and yet that face of Marley. old shoes. He was obliged to sit close to it. designed to illustrate the Scriptures. seven years dead. and paved all round with quaint Dutch tiles. put on his dressing-gown and slippers. he took off his cravat. and sat down before the fire to take his gruel. nothing on such a bitter night. and brood over it. two fish-baskets. Abrahams. and his nightcap. 21 of 138 .A Christmas Carol as usual.

then coming straight towards his door. They were succeeded by a clanking noise. a disused bell. or a minute. he saw this bell begin to swing. ‘It’s humbug still!’ said Scrooge. ‘I won’t believe it. and communicated for some purpose now forgotten with a chamber in the highest story of the building. As he threw his head back in the chair. deep down below. his glance happened to rest upon a bell. and then he heard the noise much louder. but it seemed an hour. when. It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound. and passed into the 22 of 138 . This might have lasted half a minute. and so did every bell in the house. that as he looked. but soon it rang out loudly. he sat down again. After several turns. it came on through the heavy door. and with a strange. inexplicable dread. and walked across the room. together. without a pause. then coming up the stairs. It was with great astonishment. on the floors below. that hung in the room.A Christmas Carol ‘Humbug!’ said Scrooge. The cellar-door flew open with a booming sound. The bells ceased as they had begun. as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine merchant’s cellar.’ His colour changed though. Scrooge then remembered to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses were described as dragging chains.

Marley in his pigtail. and the hair upon his head. The same face: the very same. ‘What do you want with me?’ 23 of 138 . ledgers. as though it cried ‘I know him. and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its head and chin. deeds. and wound about him like a tail. the tassels on the latter bristling. padlocks. the dying flame leaped up. caustic and cold as ever. Marley’s Ghost!’ and fell again. ‘How now!’ said Scrooge. which wrapper he had not observed before. keys. could see the two buttons on his coat behind. and heavy purses wrought in steel. though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes. Upon its coming in. and fought against his senses. His body was transparent. observing him. nor did he believe it even now. and saw it standing before him. usual waistcoat. and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cashboxes. but he had never believed it until now. Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no bowels. Though he looked the phantom through and through. It was long. tights and boots. and his coat-skirts. he was still incredulous. No. like his pigtail. so that Scrooge. and looking through his waistcoat.A Christmas Carol room before his eyes. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle.

But the ghost sat down on the opposite side of the fireplace.’ said Scrooge. ‘You’re particular. ‘Who are you?’ ‘Ask me who I was. raising his voice. as if he were quite used to it.’ He was going to say ‘to a shade.’ ‘Can you — can you sit down?’ asked Scrooge. and felt that in the event of its being impossible. then. for a shade.’ but substituted this. ‘In life I was your partner.’ ‘Who were you then?’ said Scrooge. as more appropriate.’ observed the Ghost. Jacob Marley.’ said Scrooge. ‘You don’t believe in me. ‘What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?’ ‘I don’t know. ‘I don’t. ‘I can. no doubt about it.’ ‘Do it.A Christmas Carol ‘Much!’ — Marley’s voice.’ Scrooge asked the question. because he didn’t know whether a ghost so transparent might find himself in a condition to take a chair. it might involve the necessity of an embarrassing explanation. ‘Why do you doubt your senses?’ 24 of 138 . looking doubtfully at him.

though it were only for a second. and skirts.A Christmas Carol ‘Because. staring at those fixed glazed eyes. and tassels. Scrooge felt. by any means waggish then.’ said Scrooge. nor did he feel. that he tried to be smart. and keeping down his terror. You may be an undigested bit of beef. a fragment of an underdone potato. were still agitated as by the hot vapour from an oven. for the reason just assigned. Scrooge could not feel it himself. as a means of distracting his own attention. its hair. returning quickly to the charge. to divert the vision’s stony gaze from himself. for though the Ghost sat perfectly motionless. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you. 25 of 138 . ‘You see this toothpick?’ said Scrooge. The truth is. in silence for a moment. To sit. in the spectre’s being provided with an infernal atmosphere of its own. ‘a little thing affects them. too. but this was clearly the case. There was something very awful. and wishing. in his heart. the very deuce with him. a crumb of cheese. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. for the spectre’s voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones. whatever you are!’ Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes. a blot of mustard. would play.

when the phantom taking off the bandage round its head.’ ‘Well!’ returned Scrooge. ‘that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his 26 of 138 . Humbug. I tell you! humbug!’ At this the spirit raised a frightful cry. ‘Mercy!’ he said. But why do spirits walk the earth. why do you trouble me?’ ‘Man of the worldly mind!’ replied the Ghost.’ said Scrooge.’ said Scrooge. ‘notwithstanding. and be for the rest of my days persecuted by a legion of goblins. and clasped his hands before his face. ‘But I see it. and shook its chain with such a dismal and appalling noise. all of my own creation. ‘You are not looking at it. ‘do you believe in me or not?’ ‘I do. as if it were too warm to wear indoors. to save himself from falling in a swoon.’ the Ghost returned. ‘Dreadful apparition. that Scrooge held on tight to his chair.A Christmas Carol ‘I do. ‘I have but to swallow this. ‘I must.’ replied the Ghost. its lower jaw dropped down upon its breast! Scrooge fell upon his knees.’ said the Ghost. But how much greater was his horror. and why do they come to me?’ ‘It is required of every man.

It is doomed to wander through the world — oh. Is its pattern strange to you?’ Scrooge trembled more and more. and yard by yard.’ said Scrooge. in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing. ‘Or would you know. ‘Jacob. Speak comfort to me. but might have shared on earth. ‘Tell me why?’ ‘I wear the chain I forged in life. and turned to happiness!’ Again the spectre raised a cry. trembling. and edit PDF. and of my own free will I wore it.’ pursued the Ghost. seven Christmas Eves ago. view. woe is me! — and witness what it cannot share.’ he said. ‘I made it link by link. and if that spirit goes not forth in life. ‘Old Jacob Marley.eBook brought to you by A Christmas Carol Create.’ replied the Ghost. and travel far and wide. imploringly. it is condemned to do so after death. ‘You are fettered. It is a ponderous chain!’ Scrooge glanced about him on the floor. and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands. Download the free trial version. ‘the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this. Jacob!’ 27 of 138 . since. You have laboured on it. I girded it on of my own free will. fellowmen. tell me more.

‘Seven years dead. I cannot linger anywhere. My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house — mark me! — in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole. 28 of 138 . Jacob. though with humility and deference. to put his hands in his breeches pockets. ‘And travelling all the time!’ ‘The whole time. Ebenezer Scrooge. or getting off his knees. ‘It comes from other regions.’ replied the Ghost. Pondering on what the Ghost had said. in a business-like manner.’ Scrooge observed. ‘On the wings of the wind.’ mused Scrooge.’ ‘You travel fast?’ said Scrooge. and weary journeys lie before me!’ It was a habit with Scrooge. ‘Slow!’ the Ghost repeated.A Christmas Carol ‘I have none to give. no peace. Nor can I tell you what I would. ‘No rest. ‘You must have been very slow about it. I cannot stay. A very little more. and is conveyed by other ministers. I cannot rest. Incessant torture of remorse. to other kinds of men.’ said the Ghost. he did so now.’ the Ghost replied. whenever he became thoughtful. is all permitted to me. but without lifting up his eyes.

that ages of incessant labour. The Ghost.’ faltered Scrooge. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!’ 29 of 138 . and double-ironed. and clanked its chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night. wringing its hands again. ‘not to know. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere. who now began to apply this to himself. my business. that the Ward would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance. Jacob. ‘Mankind was my business.’ cried the phantom.’ said Scrooge. mercy. whatever it may be. for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed.A Christmas Carol ‘You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years. ‘Business!’ cried the Ghost. ‘Oh! captive. charity. The common welfare was my business. were. bound. set up another cry. all. and benevolence. will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!’ ‘But you were always a good man of business. on hearing this. forbearance. by immortal creatures.

and flung it heavily upon the ground again. I may not tell. A chance and hope of my procuring. ‘But don’t be hard upon me! Don’t be flowery. ‘My time is nearly gone. Ebenezer. ‘At this time of the rolling year. Jacob! Pray!’ ‘How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see. Why did I walk through crowds of fellowbeings with my eyes turned down. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day. Scrooge shivered. and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!’ Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate. and wiped the perspiration from his brow. that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. ‘Thank ‘ee!’ 30 of 138 .’ pursued the Ghost.’ It was not an agreeable idea.’ ‘You were always a good friend to me.’ the spectre said ‘I suffer most. ‘That is no light part of my penance.’ ‘I will. as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief. ‘I am here to-night to warn you. and began to quake exceedingly.’ said Scrooge.A Christmas Carol It held up its chain at arm’s length.’ said Scrooge. ‘Hear me!’ cried the Ghost.

’ said Scrooge.’ Scrooge’s countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost’s had done. when the bell tolls One. when the jaws were brought together by the bandage. as before. He ventured to raise his eyes again. and bound it round its head. and look that. by the smart sound its teeth made. and have it over. for your own sake. in a faltering voice. ‘Is that the chance and hope you mentioned. ‘Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. ‘It is. and found 31 of 138 . Look to see me no more.’ ‘I — I think I’d rather not. ‘by Three Spirits. Scrooge knew this. Expect the first tomorrow.’ said the Ghost. you remember what has passed between us!’ When it had said these words. Jacob?’ he demanded.’ resumed the Ghost. the spectre took its wrapper from the table. Jacob?’ hinted Scrooge.’ ‘Couldn’t I take ‘em all at once.A Christmas Carol ‘You will be haunted. ‘you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. ‘Without their visits. The third upon the next night when the last stroke of Twelve has ceased to vibrate.

Every one of them wore chains like Marley’s Ghost. dark night. incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret.A Christmas Carol his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. and floated out upon the bleak. He had been quite familiar with one 32 of 138 . with its chain wound over and about its arm. Scrooge stopped. as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand. warning him to come no nearer. The apparition walked backward from him. wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. it was wide open. so that when the spectre reached it. Marley’s Ghost held up its hand. Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. It beckoned Scrooge to approach. and at every step it took. after listening for a moment. which he did. The spectre. The air was filled with phantoms. Not so much in obedience. some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together. wandering hither and thither in restless haste. none were free. joined in the mournful dirge. he became sensible of confused noises in the air. the window raised itself a little. When they were within two paces of each other. He looked out. and moaning as they went.

much in need of repose. and the night became as it had been when he walked home. from the emotion he had undergone. And being. and fell asleep upon the instant. clearly. went straight to bed. The misery with them all was. or the lateness of the hour. Whether these creatures faded into mist.A Christmas Carol old ghost. and the bolts were undisturbed. or the dull conversation of the Ghost. or mist enshrouded them. in a white waistcoat. or his glimpse of the Invisible World. and had lost the power for ever. without undressing. It was double-locked. But they and their spirit voices faded together. for good. 33 of 138 . or the fatigues of the day. with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle. and examined the door by which the Ghost had entered. upon a door-step. Scrooge closed the window. that they sought to interfere. he could not tell. as he had locked it with his own hands. He tried to say ‘Humbug!’ but stopped at the first syllable. in human matters. who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant. whom it saw below.

He was endeavouring to pierce the darkness with his ferret eyes.’ said Scrooge. and from seven to eight. ‘that I can have slept through a whole day and far into another night. It isn’t possible that anything has happened to the sun. when the chimes of a neighbouring church struck the four quarters.A Christmas Carol Stave 2: The First of the Three Spirits When Scrooge awoke. to correct this most preposterous clock. and regularly up to twelve. then stopped. and this is twelve at noon. The clock was wrong. and groped his way to the window. To his great astonishment the heavy bell went on from six to seven. Twelve.’ The idea being an alarming one. Twelve. he could scarcely distinguish the transparent window from the opaque walls of his chamber. It was past two when he went to bed. So he listened for the hour. ‘Why. He touched the spring of his repeater. He was obliged to rub the frost off with the sleeve of his dressing-gown 34 of 138 . Its rapid little pulse beat twelve: and stopped. he scrambled out of bed. An icicle must have got into the works. it was so dark. it isn’t possible. that looking out of bed.

to its first position. like a strong spring released. because ‘Three days after sight of this First of Exchange pay to Mr. that the Ghost hadwarned him of a visitation when the 35 of 138 . and thought it over and over. Ebenezer Scrooge on his order. and that there was no noise of people running to and fro. on a sudden. as there unquestionably would have been if night had beaten off bright day.A Christmas Carol before he could see anything. that it was still very foggy and extremely cold. would have become a mere United States security if there were no days to count by. and taken possession of the world. and could see very little then. Scrooge went to bed again. andpresented the same problem to be worked all through. and thought. and. the more perplexed he was. This was a great relief. and could make nothing of it. All he could make out was. the more he thought.’ and so forth. The more he thought. Marley’s Ghost bothered him exceedingly. and thought. when he remembered. ‘Was it a dream or not?’ Scrooge lay in this state until the chime had gone three-quarters more. and making a great stir. Every time he resolved within himself. the more he endeavoured not to think. after mature inquiry that it was all a dream. his mind flew back again.

I tell you. The quarter was so long. and. dong!’ ‘The hour itself. ‘Ding.A Christmas Carol bell tolled one. ‘Ding.’ said Scrooge. that he was more than once convinced he must have sunk into a doze unconsciously. considering that he could no more go to sleep than go to heaven.’ said Scrooge. He resolved to lie awake until the hour was passed. perhaps. and missed the clock. Not the curtains at his feet. Light flashed up in the room upon the instant. dull. this was. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside. by a hand. melancholy ONE.’ said Scrooge. ‘and nothing else!’ He spoke before the hour bell sounded. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside. dong!’ ‘A quarter past. the wisest resolution in his power. but those to which his face was addressed. which it now did with a deep. counting. starting 36 of 138 . hollow. dong!’ ‘Half past. and the curtains of his bed were drawn. and Scrooge. nor the curtains at his back. dong!’ ‘A quarter to it.’ said Scrooge triumphantly. ‘Ding. ‘Ding. At length it broke upon his listening ear.

But the strangest thing about it was. Its hair. viewed through some supernatural medium. Its legs and feet. the sheen of which was beautiful. and the tenderest bloom was on the skin. the hands the same. were. and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it. found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close to it as I am now to you. which hung about its neck and down its back. and. by which all this was visible. in singular contradiction of that wintry emblem. It wore a tunic of the purest white. It was a strange figure — like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man. and being diminished to a child’s proportions. It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand. and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt. which it now held under its arm. was white as if with age. and which was doubtless the occasion of its using. as if its hold were of uncommon strength. like those upper members. a great extinguisher for a cap. in its duller moments.A Christmas Carol up into a half-recumbent attitude. that from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light. and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow. bare. which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view. 37 of 138 . had its dress trimmed with summer flowers. The arms were very long and muscular. most delicately formed.

A Christmas Carol

Even this, though, when Scrooge looked at it with increasing steadiness, was not its strangest quality. For as its belt sparkled and glittered now in one part and now in another, and what was light one instant, at another time was dark, so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm, now with one leg, now with twenty legs, now a pair of legs without a head, now a head without a body: of which dissolving parts, no outline would be visible in the dense gloom wherein they melted away. And in the very wonder of this, it would be itself again; distinct and clear as ever. ‘Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me.’ asked Scrooge. ‘I am.’ The voice was soft and gentle. Singularly low, as if instead of being so close beside him, it were at a distance. ‘Who, and what are you.’ Scrooge demanded. ‘I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.’ ‘Long Past.’ inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature. ‘No. Your past.’ Perhaps, Scrooge could not have told anybody why, if anybody could have asked him; but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap; and begged him to be covered. 38 of 138

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‘What.’ exclaimed the Ghost, ‘would you so soon put out, with worldly hands, the light I give. Is it not enough that you are one of those whose passions made this cap, and force me through whole trains of years to wear it low upon my brow.’ Scrooge reverently disclaimed all intention to offend or any knowledge of having wilfully bonneted the Spirit at any period of his life. He then made bold to inquire what business brought him there. ‘Your welfare.’ said the Ghost. Scrooge expressed himself much obliged, but could not help thinking that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that end. The Spirit must have heard him thinking, for it said immediately: ‘Your reclamation, then. Take heed.’ It put out its strong hand as it spoke, and clasped him gently by the arm. ‘Rise. and walk with me.’ It would have been in vain for Scrooge to plead that the weather and the hour were not adapted to pedestrian purposes; that bed was warm, and the thermometer a long way below freezing; that he was clad but lightly in his slippers, dressing-gown, and nightcap; and that he had a cold upon him at that time. The grasp, though gentle as a 39 of 138

A Christmas Carol

woman’s hand, was not to be resisted. He rose: but finding that the Spirit made towards the window, clasped his robe in supplication. ‘I am mortal,’ Scrooge remonstrated, ‘and liable to fall.’ ‘Bear but a touch of my hand there,’ said the Spirit, laying it upon his heart,’ and you shall be upheld in more than this.’ As the words were spoken, they passed through the wall, and stood upon an open country road, with fields on either hand. The city had entirely vanished. Not a vestige of it was to be seen. The darkness and the mist had vanished with it, for it was a clear, cold, winter day, with snow upon the ground. ‘Good Heaven!’ said Scrooge, clasping his hands together, as he looked about him. ‘I was bred in this place. I was a boy here.’ The Spirit gazed upon him mildly. Its gentle touch, though it had been light and instantaneous, appeared still present to the old man’s sense of feeling. He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares long, long, forgotten. ‘Your lip is trembling,’ said the Ghost. ‘And what is that upon your cheek.’ 40 of 138

until a little market-town appeared in the distance. ‘You recollect the way. with an unusual catching in his voice. ‘I could walk it blindfold. All these boys were in great spirits.’ said the Ghost. ‘Remember it. that the crisp air laughed to hear it. that it was a pimple. Why did his cold eye glisten. driven by farmers. Why was he filled with gladness when he heard them give each 41 of 138 .’ ‘Strange to have forgotten it for so many years.’ They walked along the road. and shouted to each other. ‘Let us go on. and begged the Ghost to lead him where he would. and post. Scrooge recognising every gate.A Christmas Carol Scrooge muttered. its church. Some shaggy ponies now were seen trotting towards them with boys upon their backs.’ cried Scrooge with fervour. and as they came. and his heart leap up as they went past.’ The jocund travellers came on. and winding river. who called to other boys in country gigs and carts. ‘These are but shadows of the things that have been.’ inquired the Spirit. and tree. ‘They have no consciousness of us.’ observed the Ghost. until the broad fields were so full of merry music. Scrooge knew and named them every one. with its bridge. Why was he rejoiced beyond all bounds to see them.

with a little weathercock-surmounted cupola. to a door at the back of the house. What good had it ever done to him.’ Scrooge said he knew it. neglected by his friends. and not too much to eat. across the hall. Out upon merry Christmas. is left there still. They left the high-road. a chilly bareness in the place. for the spacious offices were little used. ‘The school is not quite deserted. They went. and vast. It opened before them. And he sobbed. and 42 of 138 . cold. their windows broken. and a bell hanging in it.A Christmas Carol other Merry Christmas. There was an earthy savour in the air. Nor was it more retentive of its ancient state. by a well-remembered lane. It was a large house. ‘A solitary child.’ said the Ghost. for their several homes. the Ghost and Scrooge. but one of broken fortunes. and the coach-houses and sheds were over-run with grass. their walls were damp and mossy. as they parted at cross-roads and bye-ways. and their gates decayed. for entering the dreary hall. they found them poorly furnished. which associated itself somehow with too much getting up by candle-light. within. on the roof. and soon approached a mansion of dull red brick. and glancing through the open doors of many rooms. Fowls clucked and strutted in the stables. What was merry Christmas to Scrooge.

melancholy room. and wept to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be. intent upon his reading. not a clicking in the fire. I know. Yes. but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with a softening influence. bare. One Christmas time. and pointed to his younger self. not a drip from the half-thawed water-spout in the dull yard behind. ‘Why. The Spirit touched him on the arm. and gave a freer passage to his tears. it’s Ali Baba. yes. and Scrooge sat down upon a form. made barer still by lines of plain deal forms and desks. Poor boy. not a sigh among the leafless boughs of one despondent poplar. in foreign garments: wonderfully real and distinct to look at: stood outside the window.’ Scrooge exclaimed in ecstasy. not a squeak and scuffle from the mice behind the panelling. Not a latent echo in the house. when yonder solitary child was left here all alone. Suddenly a man. not the idle swinging of an empty store-house door. and leading by the bridle an ass laden with wood. with an axe stuck in his belt. there they go.’ and his wild brother. And Valentine. he did come. At one of these a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire. who 43 of 138 . Orson. And what’s his name.A Christmas Carol disclosed a long.’ said Scrooge. just like that. ‘It’s dear old honest Ali Baba. for the first time. no.

‘There’s the Parrot. but he wasn’t. 44 of 138 . he called him.A Christmas Carol was put down in his drawers. in a most extraordinary voice between laughing and crying. there he is. he said. Serve him right. I’m glad of it. would have been a surprise to his business friends in the city. Halloa. there he is upon his head. Hoop.’ The man thought he was dreaming. There goes Friday.’ To hear Scrooge expending all the earnestness of his nature on such subjects. Poor Robin Crusoe. when he came home again after sailing round the island. ‘Poor Robin Crusoe. indeed. where have you been. It was the Parrot. Hallo.’ and cried again. with a rapidity of transition very foreign to his usual character. Robin Crusoe. in pity for his former self. don’t you see him. you know.’ Then. And the Sultan’s Groom turned upside down by the Genii. ‘Poor boy. running for his life to the little creek. asleep. ‘Green body and yellow tail.’ cried Scrooge. at the Gate of Damascus. with a thing like a lettuce growing out of the top of his head. What business had he to be married to the Princess. and to see his heightened and excited face.

and looking about him. and putting her arms about his neck. fragments of plaster fell out of the ceiling. much younger than the boy. and the naked laths were shown instead. ‘Nothing.’ Scrooge’s former self grew larger at the words. It opened.’ The Ghost smiled thoughtfully. and a little girl. There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. after drying his eyes with his cuff: ‘but it’s too late now. Scrooge knew no more than you do. came darting in. but walking up and down despairingly. that there he was. ‘Let us see another Christmas. and with a mournful shaking of his head.A Christmas Carol ‘I wish. The panels shrunk. and 45 of 138 .’ said Scrooge. and the room became a little darker and more dirty. alone again.’ ‘What is the matter.’ asked the Spirit. glanced anxiously towards the door. Scrooge looked at the Ghost. ‘Nothing. He was not reading now. the windows cracked. putting his hand in his pocket.’ Scrooge muttered. I should like to have given him something: that’s all. He only knew that it was quite correct. when all the other boys had gone home for the jolly holidays. but how all this was brought about. and waved its hand: saying as it did so. that everything had happened so.

in her childish eagerness. little Fan. we’re to be together all the Christmas long. Then she began to drag him. towards the door. laughed again. A terrible voice in the hall cried. and sent me in a coach to bring you.’ and are never to come back here.’ said the child. nothing loth to go.A Christmas Carol often kissing him. accompanied her. that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home. home. Father is so much kinder than he used to be.’ ‘Home. opening her eyes. He spoke so gently to me one dear night when I was going to bed. and he. ‘Home.’ said the child.’ returned the boy. you should.’ ‘You are quite a woman. and tried to touch his head. ‘Yes. for ever and ever. She clapped her hands and laughed.’ and in the hall appeared the 46 of 138 . little Fan. And you’re to be a man. for good and all. and he said Yes. clapping her tiny hands. that home’s like Heaven. ‘To bring you home. addressed him as her ‘Dear. Home. ‘Bring down Master Scrooge’s box. dear brother. brimful of glee. there. home. and stood on tiptoe to embrace him.’ said the child.’ exclaimed the boy. dear brother. but first. but being too little. and have the merriest time in all the world.’ ‘I have come to bring you home. and bending down to laugh.

who answered that he thanked the gentleman. and administered instalments of those dainties to the young people: at the same time. he had rather not. and threw him into a dreadful state of mind by shaking hands with him. ‘You’re right. whom a breath might have withered. where the maps upon the wall.’ ‘So she had. were waxy with cold.A Christmas Carol schoolmaster himself. Spirit. He then conveyed him and his sister into the veriest old well of a shivering best-parlour that ever was seen. and a block of curiously heavy cake.’ 47 of 138 .’ said the Ghost. and the celestial and terrestrial globes in the windows. sending out a meagre servant to offer a glass of something to the postboy. and getting into it. Master Scrooge’s trunk being by this time tied on to the top of the chaise.’ cried Scrooge. but if it was the same tap as he had tasted before. drove gaily down the garden-sweep: the quick wheels dashing the hoar-frost and snow from off the dark leaves of the evergreens like spray. ‘But she had a large heart. I will not gainsay it. who glared on Master Scrooge with a ferocious condescension. the children bade the schoolmaster good-bye right willingly. Here he produced a decanter of curiously light wine. ‘Always a delicate creature. God forbid.

Scrooge cried in great excitement: ‘Why. Bless his heart.’ Scrooge returned. It was made plain enough. they were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city. ‘I was apprenticed here. ‘Yes. as I think. At sight of an old gentleman in a Welsh wig.’ said Scrooge. ‘Know it. ‘Your nephew. The Ghost stopped at a certain warehouse door. sitting behind such a high desk.’ Although they had but that moment left the school behind them. it’s Fezziwig alive again. children.’ 48 of 138 .’ ‘One child. where shadowy carts and coaches battle for the way. it’s old Fezziwig. ‘and had. by the dressing of the shops.’ Scrooge seemed uneasy in his mind.’ They went in. where shadowy passengers passed and repassed. but it was evening. ‘True. and asked Scrooge if he knew it. and answered briefly. that here too it was Christmas time again. that if he had been two inches taller he must have knocked his head against the ceiling.’ said the Ghost.A Christmas Carol ‘She died a woman. and the streets were lighted up.’ said the Ghost. and all the strife and tumult of a real city were.

‘Dick Wilkins. ‘Hilli-ho!’ cried old Fezziwig. Poor Dick. Ebenezer. ‘Clear away. jovial voice: ‘Yo ho.’ cried old Fezziwig. He was very much attached to me. panting like race-horses. two. He rubbed his hands.’ said Scrooge to the Ghost. Dear. fat. There he is. Christmas Eve. Let’s have the shutters up. from his shows to his organ of benevolence. my lads. 49 of 138 . nine — and came back before you could have got to twelve.’ You wouldn’t believe how those two fellows went at it. and called out in a comfortable. ‘Bless me. eight. oily. was Dick. three — had them up in their places — four.A Christmas Carol Old Fezziwig laid down his pen. rich. five. ‘No more work tonight. there.’ before a man can say Jack Robinson. Christmas. dear. with a sharp clap of his hands. my boys. now grown a young man. to be sure. which pointed to the hour of seven. accompanied by his fellow-prentice.’ ‘Yo ho. with wonderful agility. Dick. six — barred them and pinned then — seven.’ said Fezziwig. They charged into the street with the shutters — one.’ Scrooge’s former self. Dick. Ebenezer. yes. came briskly in. skipping down from the high desk. adjusted his capacious waistcoat. laughed all over himself. and looked up at the clock.

In came Mrs Fezziwig. the floor was swept and watered. In came the boy from over the way. Hilli-ho. Every movable was packed off. the lamps were trimmed. as if it were dismissed from public life for evermore. Chirrup. one vast substantial smile. In came all the young men and women employed in the business. It was done in a minute. In came a fiddler with a music-book. the milkman. and the warehouse was as snug. and went up to the lofty desk. trying to hide himself behind the girl from next door but one. who was suspected of not having board enough from his master. fuel was heaped upon the fire.A Christmas Carol and let’s have lots of room here. and bright a ball-room. There was nothing they wouldn’t have cleared away. and dry. In came the cook. as you would desire to see upon a winter’s night. and made an orchestra of it. who was proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress. In they all 50 of 138 . Ebenezer. In came the six young followers whose hearts they broke. with her cousin. with her brother’s particular friend. the baker. beaming and lovable. In came the three Miss Fezziwigs. and tuned like fifty stomach-aches. with old Fezziwig looking on. or couldn’t have cleared away. In came the housemaid. and warm. Dick.’ Clear away.

some awkwardly. some gracefully. exhausted. view.’ and the fiddler plunged his hot face into a pot of porter. especially provided for that purpose. cried out. he instantly began again. Away they all went. and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled. some boldly. in they all came. some shyly. some pushing. and plenty of beer. new top couple starting off again. came.eBook brought to you by A Christmas Carol Create.’ Well done. Download the free trial version. There were more dances. and there was cake. all top couples at last. one after another. down the middle and up again. though there were no dancers yet. as soon as they got there. hands half round and back again the other way. When this result was brought about. and there was a great piece of Cold Roast. But scorning rest. old Fezziwig. as if the other fiddler had been carried home. and there was negus. round and round in various stages of affectionate grouping. But the great effect of the evening came after the Roast and Boiled. upon his reappearance. twenty couples at once. old top couple always turning up in the wrong place. and not a bottom one to help them. and there were forfeits. and there were mince-pies. and more dances. some pulling. when the fiddler (an 51 of 138 . anyhow and everyhow. or perish. and edit PDF. and he were a bran-new man resolved to beat him out of sight. on a shutter. clapping his hands to stop the dance.

If that’s not high praise. Fezziwig cut — cut so deftly.) struck up Sir Roger de Coverley. corkscrew. As to her. three or four and twenty pair of partners. at any given time. both hands to your partner. You couldn’t have predicted. and I’ll use it. Top couple. four times — old Fezziwig would have been a match for them. what would have become of them next. mind. people who were not to be trifled with. and came upon his feet again without a stagger. this domestic ball broke up. with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them. But if they had been twice as many — ah. And when old Fezziwig and Mrs Fezziwig had gone all through the dance. that he appeared to wink with his legs. tell me higher. When the clock struck eleven. thread-theneedle. The sort of man who knew his business better than you or I could have told it him. Mr and Mrs Fezziwig took their stations. and so would Mrs Fezziwig. and back again to your place. bow and curtsey. she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term. advance and retire.A Christmas Carol artful dog. They shone in every part of the dance like moons. people who would dance. and had no notion of walking. too.’ Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs Fezziwig. A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig’s calves. one on 52 of 138 .

and became conscious that it was looking full upon him. ‘to make these silly folks so full of gratitude.’ ‘Small. wished him or her a Merry Christmas. Is it not.A Christmas Carol either side of the door. ‘Why. His heart and soul were in the scene. that he remembered the Ghost. and with his former self. when the bright faces of his former self and Dick were turned from them.’ said the Ghost. He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four perhaps. they did the same to them. which were under a counter in the back-shop. and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out. while the light upon its head burnt very clear. said.’ echoed Scrooge.’ 53 of 138 . and thus the cheerful voices died away. and the lads were left to their beds. and underwent the strangest agitation. ‘A small matter. remembered everything. Scrooge had acted like a man out of his wits. who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig: and when he had done so. He corroborated everything. When everybody had retired but the two prentices. enjoyed everything. It was not until now. The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices. Is that so much that he deserves this praise. During the whole of this time.

but it had begun to wear the signs of care and avarice. in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count them up: what then.’ This was not addressed to Scrooge. Spirit. For again Scrooge saw himself. a man in the prime of life.’ asked the Ghost. not his latter. heated by the remark. is quite as great as if it cost a fortune. There was an eager. ‘Something. That’s all.’ said Scrooge. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy. ‘My time grows short.’ No. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk just now. His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years. and speaking unconsciously like his former. self.’ His former self turned down the lamps as he gave utterance to the wish.’ observed the Spirit.’ the Ghost insisted. and Scrooge and the Ghost again stood side by side in the open air. ‘Quick. a pleasure or a toil.’ He felt the Spirit’s glance. ‘It isn’t that. ‘No. ‘What is the matter. but it produced an immediate effect. Say that his power lies in words and looks.A Christmas Carol ‘It isn’t that. to make our service light or burdensome. restless 54 of 138 .’ said Scrooge. and stopped. greedy. The happiness he gives.’ said Scrooge. ‘Nothing in particular. or to any one whom he could see. I think. He was older now.

’ he rejoined. Another idol has displaced me. gently. very little.’ he retorted. He was not alone. what then.’ 55 of 138 . ‘There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty. and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth. which sparkled in the light that shone out of the Ghost of Christmas Past. I am not changed towards you. ‘Even if I have grown so much wiser.A Christmas Carol motion in the eye. ‘All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. Have I not. which showed the passion that had taken root.’ ‘You fear the world too much. ‘It matters little.’ she answered. ‘A golden one. but sat by the side of a fair young girl in a mourning-dress: in whose eyes there were tears.’ she said.’ ‘What then. and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come.’ ‘This is the even-handed dealing of the world.’ he said. softly. until the masterpassion. and where the shadow of the growing tree would fall. Gain. I have no just cause to grieve.’ ‘What Idol has displaced you. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one. as I would have tried to do. engrosses you. ‘To you.

’ ‘Have I ever sought release. How often and how keenly I have thought of this. upon him.’ said the girl. It was made when we were both poor and content to be so. in good season. another Hope as its great end. You are changed.’ tell me. but with steadiness.’ she returned. ‘Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you are. In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight.’ ‘In a changed nature. No. looking mildly. and can release you.’ ‘Our contract is an old one. I will not say.’ ‘In words. If this had never been between us. we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry. until. Never.A Christmas Carol She shook her head. you were another man. When it was made. in an altered spirit.’ he said impatiently. no. Ah. would you seek me out and try to win me now. in another atmosphere of life.’ 56 of 138 . It is enough that I have thought of it. ‘I am. is fraught with misery now that we are two. ‘Am I.’ ‘I was a boy. then. That which promised happiness when we were one in heart.’ ‘In what.

in your very confidence with her. weigh everything by Gain: or. but with her head turned from him. and they parted. do I not know that your repentance and regret would surely follow. choosing her. I do. yesterday. A very. and I release you. can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless girl — you who. for the love of him you once were. ‘You may — the memory of what is past half makes me hope you will — have pain in this. With a full heart.’ You think not.A Christmas Carol He seemed to yield to the justice of this supposition. May you be happy in the life you have chosen. and you will dismiss the recollection of it. When I have learned a Truth like this. to-morrow.’ She left him. But he said with a struggle. in spite of himself. But if you were free to-day. I know how strong and irresistible it must be.’ she answered. ‘Heaven knows. gladly. as an unprofitable dream. 57 of 138 .’ He was about to speak. very brief time. from which it happened well that you awoke. she resumed. if for a moment you were false enough to your one guiding principle to do so.’ ‘I would gladly think otherwise if I could.

A Christmas Carol ‘Spirit. than Scrooge in his agitated state of mind could count. so like that last that Scrooge believed it was the same. a room. ‘No more. Near to the winter fire sat a beautiful young girl. sitting opposite her daughter. but every child was conducting itself like forty. I don’t wish to see it.’ But the relentless Ghost pinioned him in both his arms. and forced him to observe what happened next. Though I never could have been so rude. Show me no more. got pillaged by the young brigands most ruthlessly. and the latter. on the contrary.’ show me no more. They were in another scene and place. The noise in this room was perfectly tumultuous. but full of comfort. Why do you delight to torture me. Conduct me home. now a comely matron.’ ‘One shadow more. they were not forty children conducting themselves like one. The consequences were uproarious beyond belief. I wouldn’t for the 58 of 138 . and.’ said Scrooge. until he saw her.’ cried Scrooge. unlike the celebrated herd in the poem. the mother and daughter laughed heartily. soon beginning to mingle in the sports. ‘No more. and enjoyed it very much. not very large or handsome.’ exclaimed the Ghost. no. no. but no one seemed to care. What would I not have given to one of them. for there were more children there.

I wouldn’t have plucked it off. bold young brood. that she might have opened them. to save my life.A Christmas Carol wealth of all the world have crushed that braided hair. to have touched her lips. to have questioned her. I do confess. hold on tight by his cravat. and for the precious little shoe. hug him round his 59 of 138 . The scaling him with chairs for ladders to dive into his pockets. Then the shouting and the struggling. I couldn’t have done it. And yet I should have dearly liked. But now a knocking at the door was heard. to have let loose waves of hair. and yet to have been man enough to know its value. despoil him of brown-paper parcels. just in time to greet the father. I own. and never come straight again. As to measuring her waist in sport. I should have liked. and torn it down. who came home attended by a man laden with Christmas toys and presents. and such a rush immediately ensued that she with laughing face and plundered dress was borne towards it the centre of a flushed and boisterous group. God bless my soul. an inch of which would be a keepsake beyond price: in short. and never raised a blush. and the onslaught that was made on the defenceless porter. I should have expected my arm to have grown round it for a punishment. to have had the lightest licence of a child. to have looked upon the lashes of her downcast eyes. as they did.

and gratitude. The shouts of wonder and delight with which the development of every package was received. The immense relief of finding this a false alarm.’ I saw an old friend of yours this afternoon. and ecstasy.’ ‘Guess. And now Scrooge looked on more attentively than ever. his sight grew very dim indeed.’ ‘Who was it. and by one stair at a time. and was more than suspected of having swallowed a fictitious turkey. ‘Belle. quite as graceful and as full of promise. and been a spring-time in the haggard winter of his life. and so subsided. glued on a wooden platter.’ said the husband. pommel his back.A Christmas Carol neck. and kick his legs in irrepressible affection. It is enough that by degrees the children and their emotions got out of the parlour.’ 60 of 138 . sat down with her and her mother at his own fireside. The joy. turning to his wife with a smile. might have called him father. where they went to bed. They are all indescribable alike. when the master of the house. The terrible announcement that the baby had been taken in the act of putting a doll’s frying-pan into his mouth. up to the top of the house. having his daughter leaning fondly on him. and when he thought that such another creature.

laughing as he laughed. and as it was not shut up. ‘That they are what they are. I passed his office window. Haunt me no longer. I hear.’ ‘Mr Scrooge it was.’ ‘I told you these were shadows of the things that have been. ‘Leave me.’ remove me from this place.A Christmas Carol ‘How can I.’ said the Ghost. Scrooge observed that its light was burning high and bright. in which in some strange way there were fragments of all the faces it had shown him. Tut. I could scarcely help seeing him.’ she added in the same breath.’ He turned upon the Ghost. I do believe. he 61 of 138 . and seeing that it looked upon him with a face.’ Scrooge exclaimed.’ In the struggle. His partner lies upon the point of death. Take me back. if that can be called a struggle in which the Ghost with no visible resistance on its own part was undisturbed by any effort of its adversary. and he had a candle inside. and there he sat alone. do not blame me. don’t I know. ‘Mr Scrooge.’ ‘Spirit.’ I cannot bear it. Quite alone in the world.’ ‘Remove me.’ said Scrooge in a broken voice. wrestled with it. and dimly connecting that with its influence over him.

before he sank into a heavy sleep. and. which streamed from under it. and by a sudden action pressed it down upon its head. He gave the cap a parting squeeze. and had barely time to reel to bed.A Christmas Carol seized the extinguisher-cap. 62 of 138 . The Spirit dropped beneath it. in an unbroken flood upon the ground. he could not hide the light. so that the extinguisher covered its whole form. and overcome by an irresistible drowsiness. in which his hand relaxed. of being in his own bedroom. further. He was conscious of being exhausted. but though Scrooge pressed it down with all his force.

and made nervous. He felt that he was restored to consciousness in the right nick of time. between which opposite extremes. he wished to challenge the Spirit on the moment of its appearance. for the especial purpose of holding a conference with the second messenger despatched to him through Jacob Marley’s intervention. who plume themselves on being acquainted with a move or two. For. he put them every one aside with his own hands. and edit PDF.eBook brought to you by A Christmas Carol Create. express the wide range of their capacity for adventure by observing that they are good for anything from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter. Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits Awaking in the middle of a prodigiously tough snore. and being usually equal to the time-of-day. Download the free trial version. But. established a sharp look-out all round the bed. and sitting up in bed to get his thoughts together. Gentlemen of the free-and-easy sort. Scrooge had no occasion to be told that the bell was again upon the stroke of One. view. finding that he turned uncomfortably cold when he began to wonder which of his curtains this new spectre would draw back. and lying down again. and did not wish to be taken by surprise. no 63 of 138 .

yet nothing came. or would be at. was more alarming than a dozen ghosts. which streamed upon it when the clock proclaimed the hour. he lay upon his bed.A Christmas Carol doubt. ten minutes. At last. and. there lies a tolerably wide and comprehensive range of subjects. he was taken with a violent fit of trembling. I say. for it is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it. being prepared for almost anything. however. Now. without having the consolation of knowing it. Five minutes. and would unquestionably have done it too — at last. a quarter of an hour went by. I don’t mind calling on you to believe that he was ready for a good broad field of strange appearances. consequently. he was not by any means prepared for nothing. as he was powerless to make out what it meant. and which. he began to think — as you or I would have thought at first. and was sometimes apprehensive that he might be at that very moment an interesting case of spontaneous combustion. the very core and centre of a blaze of ruddy light. and no shape appeared. All this time. he began to think that the source and secret of this 64 of 138 . being only light. when the Bell struck One. Without venturing for Scrooge quite as hardily as this. and that nothing between a baby and rhinoceros would have astonished him very much.

He obeyed. But it had undergone a surprising transformation.A Christmas Carol ghostly light might be in the adjoining room. sucking-pigs. that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam. poultry. were turkeys. bright gleaming berries glistened. red-hot chestnuts. that it looked a perfect grove. or for many and many a winter season gone. as that dull petrification of a hearth had never known in Scrooge’s time. There was no doubt about that. This idea taking full possession of his mind. and bade him enter. Heaped up on the floor. it seemed to shine. mince-pies. and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney. or Marley’s. and ivy reflected back the light. The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green. brawn. a strange voice called him by his name. barrels of oysters. plum-puddings. as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there. luscious pears. great joints of meat. from whence. In easy 65 of 138 . from every part of which. juicy oranges. cherry-cheeked apples. It was his own room. The moment Scrooge’s hand was on the lock. mistletoe. long wreaths of sausages. immense twelfth-cakes. and seething bowls of punch. geese. to form a kind of throne. game. on further tracing it. The crisp leaves of holly. he got up softly and shuffled in his slippers to the door.

as he came peeping round the door. its sparkling eye. ‘Come in. bordered with white fur. its open hand. and its joyful air. observable beneath the ample folds of the garment. Its feet. its unconstrained demeanour. glorious to see. there sat a jolly Giant.’ Scrooge reverently did so. and though the Spirit’s eyes were clear and kind. Girded round its middle was an antique 66 of 138 . free as its genial face. or mantle. as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice. who bore a glowing torch. and hung his head before this Spirit. and know me better. Its dark brown curls were long and free. set here and there with shining icicles. and on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath.A Christmas Carol state upon this couch.’ Scrooge entered timidly. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been. ‘I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. in shape not unlike Plenty’s horn. that its capacious breast was bare. were also bare. This garment hung so loosely on the figure. and held it up. ‘Look upon me. man. to shed its light on Scrooge. he did not like to meet them.’ said the Spirit. ‘Come in. its cheery voice. high up.’ exclaimed the Ghost. It was clothed in one simple green robe.

Have you had many brothers. the ruddy glow. brawn. Spirit. puddings.’ said Scrooge submissively.’ muttered Scrooge. Holly. game. if you have aught to teach me. meat. let me profit by it. To-night. pigs. I went forth last night on compulsion. meaning (for I am very young) my elder brothers born in these later years. but no sword was in it. ‘I don’t think I have. ivy. ‘Never. fruit.’ ‘More than eighteen hundred. and 67 of 138 . the hour of night. mistletoe.’ said the Ghost.’ said Scrooge. red berries. ‘I am afraid I have not. So did the room. ‘Spirit.’ exclaimed the Spirit. the fire.’ ‘Touch my robe. sausages. turkeys. all vanished instantly. poultry. pies. and held it fast.’ Scrooge made answer to it. ‘You have never seen the like of me before.’ Scrooge did as he was told. and punch. ‘Have never walked forth with the younger members of my family.’ pursued the Phantom. oysters.A Christmas Carol scabbard. and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust. The Ghost of Christmas Present rose. and I learnt a lesson which is working now. ‘A tremendous family to provide for.’ conduct me where you will. geese.

half frozen. and with the dirtier snow upon the ground. caught fire. and from the tops of their houses. furrows that crossed and recrossed each other hundreds of times where the great streets branched off. where (for the weather was severe) the people made a rough. half thawed. and made intricate channels. whence it was mad delight to the boys to see it come plumping down into the road below. and the windows blacker. hard to trace in the thick yellow mud and icy water. The house fronts looked black enough. as if all the chimneys in Great Britain had. whose heavier particles descended in shower of sooty atoms. and splitting into artificial little snow-storms. in scraping the snow from the pavement in front of their dwellings. which last deposit had been ploughed up in deep furrows by the heavy wheels of carts and waggons. by one consent.A Christmas Carol they stood in the city streets on Christmas morning. and the shortest streets were choked up with a dingy mist. and were blazing away to their dear hearts’ content. but brisk and not unpleasant kind of music. There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town. The sky was gloomy. and yet was there an air of cheerfulness abroad that the clearest summer air and 68 of 138 . contrasting with the smooth white sheet of snow upon the roofs.

made. shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen. calling out to one another from the parapets. in the shopkeepers’ benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks. pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts. For. broad-girthed Spanish onions. The poulterers’ shops were still half open. there were piles of filberts. that people’s mouths might water gratis as they passed. mossy and brown. There were ruddy. and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through 69 of 138 . There were great. round. There were pears and apples. brown-faced.A Christmas Carol brightest summer sun might have endeavoured to diffuse in vain. clustered high in blooming pyramids. and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe. shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars. lolling at the doors. and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by. and the fruiterers’ were radiant in their glory. in their fragrance. ancient walks among the woods. and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. there were bunches of grapes. the people who were shovelling away on the housetops were jovial and full of glee. and now and then exchanging a facetious snowball — better-natured missile far than many a wordy jest — laughing heartily if it went right and not less heartily if it went wrong. round. recalling.

squab and swarthy. or that the canisters were rattled up and down like juggling tricks. and. oh the Grocers’. in the great compactness of their juicy persons. or that the French plums blushed in 70 of 138 . the sticks of cinnamon so long and straight. urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner. set forth among these choice fruits in a bowl. It was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry sound. The very gold and silver fish. and. there were Norfolk Biffins.A Christmas Carol withered leaves. appeared to know that there was something going on. nearly closed. went gasping round and round their little world in slow and passionless excitement. or even that the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose. though members of a dull and stagnant-blooded race. the candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar as to make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious. or one. or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly. The Grocers’. or even that the raisins were so plentiful and rare. the other spices so delicious. setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons. but through those gaps such glimpses. with perhaps two shutters down. to a fish. the almonds so extremely white. Nor was it that the figs were moist and pulpy.

and away they came. and nameless turnings. flocking through the streets in their best clothes. or that everything was good to eat and in its Christmas dress. But soon the steeples called good people all. for once or twice 71 of 138 . to church and chapel. innumerable people. carrying their dinners to the baker’ shops. and left their purchases upon the counter. in the best humour possible. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch. and came running back to fetch them. that they tumbled up against each other at the door. while the Grocer and his people were so frank and fresh that the polished hearts with which they fastened their aprons behind might have been their own. lanes. and for Christmas daws to peck at if they chose. And at the same time there emerged from scores of byestreets. and taking off the covers as their bearers passed. but the customers were all so hurried and so eager in the hopeful promise of the day. worn outside for general inspection. crashing their wicker baskets wildly. for he stood with Scrooge beside him in a baker’s doorway. and with their gayest faces. The sight of these poor revellers appeared to interest the Spirit very much. and committed hundreds of the like mistakes.A Christmas Carol modest tartness from their highly-decorated boxes. sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch.

and yet there was a genial shadowing forth of all these dinners and the progress of their cooking.’ asked Scrooge.’ asked Scrooge. 72 of 138 .’ said Scrooge. should desire to cramp these people’s opportunities of innocent enjoyment. where the pavement smoked as if its stones were cooking too.’ asked Scrooge. ‘Because it needs it most. so it was.’ ‘I.’ ‘Spirit. he shed a few drops of water on them from it. and their good humour was restored directly. God love it. ‘There is.’ ‘Why to a poor one most. it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. and the bakers were shut up. of all the beings in the many worlds about us. in the thawed blotch of wet above each baker’s oven. ‘To any kindly given. And so it was.’ ‘Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day.’ cried the Spirit.A Christmas Carol when there were angry words between some dinnercarriers who had jostled each other.’ I wonder you. In time the bells ceased. My own. after a moment’s thought. For they said. To a poor one most. ‘Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from your torch.

It has been done in your name. ill-will. as it was possible he could have done in any lofty hall. ‘You seek to close these places on the Seventh Day. that notwithstanding his gigantic size. envy. ‘There are some upon this earth of yours. who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin.’ exclaimed the Spirit. he could accommodate himself to any place with ease. hatred.’ who lay claim to know us. or at least in that of your family. pride. not us. 73 of 138 .’ said Scrooge.A Christmas Carol ‘You would deprive them of their means of dining every seventh day. and they went on. into the suburbs of the town.’ Scrooge promised that he would.’ returned the Spirit.’ said Scrooge.’ ‘I.’ said Scrooge. often the only day on which they can be said to dine at all. invisible. and who do their deeds of passion. It was a remarkable quality of the Ghost (which Scrooge had observed at the baker’s). as if they had never lived. ‘Forgive me if I am wrong. and selfishness in our name. ‘And it comes to the same thing. bigotry. and that he stood beneath a low roof quite as gracefully and like a supernatural creature.’ ‘I seek. as they had been before. ‘Wouldn’t you. and charge their doings on themselves. Remember that.’ cried the Spirit.

which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence. and yearned to show his linen in the fashionable Parks. second of her daughters. Then up rose Mrs Cratchit. assisted by Belinda Cratchit. and his sympathy with all poor men. but brave in ribbons. hearty nature. while Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes. generous. that led him straight to Scrooge’s clerk’s. dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown. and getting the corners of his monstrous shirt collar (Bob’s private property. holding to his robe. or else it was his own kind. Bob had but fifteen bob a-week himself. came tearing in. boy and girl. conferred upon his son and heir in honour of the day) into his mouth. and she laid the cloth. and stopped to bless Bob Cratchit’s dwelling with the sprinkling of his torch. rejoiced to find himself so gallantly attired. for there he went. and known it for their 74 of 138 . screaming that outside the baker’s they had smelt the goose. he pocketed on Saturdays but fifteen copies of his Christian name. Think of that.A Christmas Carol And perhaps it was the pleasure the good Spirit had in showing off this power of his. and yet the Ghost of Christmas Present blessed his four-roomed house. And now two smaller Cratchits. and took Scrooge with him. and on the threshold of the door the Spirit smiled. also brave in ribbons. Cratchit’s wife.

and exalted Master Peter Cratchit to the skies. my dear.’ said Mrs Cratchit. Martha. until the slow potatoes bubbling up. Tiny Tim. my dear. Never mind so long as you are come. There’s father coming. view.’ said Mrs Cratchit. Lord bless ye. ‘We’d a deal of work to finish up last night.’ said a girl.’ and had to clear away this morning. mother. mother. Martha. ‘Here’s Martha.’ ‘Well. who were everywhere at once. and have a warm. own. appearing as she spoke. and edit PDF.’ ‘Why. bless your heart alive. ‘Hide. ‘And your brother. and taking off her shawl and bonnet for her with officious zeal.’ cried the two young Cratchits.’ ‘Here’s Martha.eBook brought to you by A Christmas Carol Create. Download the free trial version.’ replied the girl.’ said Mrs Cratchit. ‘Hurrah. mother. ‘What has ever got your precious father then.’ ‘No.’ 75 of 138 . And Martha warn’t as late last Christmas Day by half-an-hour. kissing her a dozen times. hide. how late you are. knocked loudly at the saucepan-lid to be let out and peeled. these young Cratchits danced about the table. no. and basking in luxurious thoughts of sage and onion. ‘Sit ye down before the fire.’ cried the two young Cratchits. while he (not proud. although his collars nearly choked him) blew the fire. There’s such a goose.

’ Martha didn’t like to see him disappointed. to look seasonable. that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper. sitting by himself so much. ‘Why.’ said Bob. where’s our Martha. ‘Not coming. and in came little Bob. and had his limbs supported by an iron frame. ‘Not coming. and ran into his arms.’ said Mrs Cratchit. ‘And how did little Tim behave.’ cried Bob Cratchit. ‘As good as gold. so she came out prematurely from behind the closet door. and bore him off into the wash-house. while the two young Cratchits hustled Tiny Tim.’ and better. asked Mrs Cratchit.’ said Bob. ‘Not coming upon Christmas Day. with a sudden declension in his high spirits. and thinks the 76 of 138 . if it were only in joke. looking round. and had come home rampant.A Christmas Carol So Martha hid herself. hanging down before him. for he had been Tim’s blood horse all the way from church. he bore a little crutch. and Tiny Tim upon his shoulder. Alas for Tiny Tim. with at least three feet of comforter exclusive of the fringe. the father. and his threadbare clothes darned up and brushed. when she had rallied Bob on his credulity. Somehow he gets thoughtful. and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.

to which a black swan was a matter of course — and in truth it was something very like it in that house. who made lame beggars walk. they were capable of being made more shabby — compounded some hot mixture in a jug with gin and lemons. and stirred it round and round and put it on the hob to simmer. a feathered phenomenon. with which they soon returned in high procession. poor fellow. coming home. Mrs Cratchit made the gravy (ready beforehand in a little saucepan) hissing hot. that he hoped the people saw him in the church. and the two ubiquitous young Cratchits went to fetch the goose. escorted by his brother and sister to his stool before the fire. and back came Tiny Tim before another word was spoken. and blind men see. and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day. and while Bob. turning up his cuffs — as if.A Christmas Carol strangest things you ever heard.’ Bob’s voice was tremulous when he told them this. and trembled more when he said that Tiny Tim was growing strong and hearty. Master Peter. Master Peter mashed the potatoes with 77 of 138 . because he was a cripple. Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest of all birds. He told me. His active little crutch was heard upon the floor.

were steeped in sage and 78 of 138 . Its tenderness and flavour. There never was such a goose. and the youngest Cratchits in particular. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table. indeed. looking slowly all along the carving-knife. and even Tiny Tim. At last the dishes were set on. excited by the two young Cratchits. and grace was said. as Mrs Cratchit said with great delight (surveying one small atom of a bone upon the dish). were the themes of universal admiration. and mounting guard upon their posts. they hadn’t ate it all at last. size and cheapness. prepared to plunge it in the breast. crammed spoons into their mouths. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes. it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family.A Christmas Carol incredible vigour. not forgetting themselves. and when the long expected gush of stuffing issued forth. the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody. Martha dusted the hot plates. as Mrs Cratchit. It was succeeded by a breathless pause. lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped. but when she did. and feebly cried Hurrah. Yet every one had had enough. Miss Belinda sweetened up the applesauce. one murmur of delight arose all round the board. beat on the table with the handle of his knife.

But now. but smiling proudly — with the pudding. In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered — flushed. A smell like a washing-day. and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top. while they were merry with the goose — a supposition at which the two young Cratchits became livid. and stolen it. and calmly too. the plates being changed by Miss Belinda. a wonderful pudding. Hallo. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other. blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy. that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs Cratchit since their marriage. Suppose it should break in turning out. so hard and firm. with a laundress’s next door to that. The pudding was out of the copper. she would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity 79 of 138 . Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back-yard. Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in. Mrs Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind.A Christmas Carol onion to the eyebrows. Oh. Suppose it should not be done enough. Bob Cratchit said. That was the cloth. All sorts of horrors were supposed. A great deal of steam. That was the pudding. like a speckled cannon-ball.

and considered perfect. the last of all. At last the dinner was all done. and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. ‘God bless us every one. The compound in the jug being tasted. as if he loved the child.’ said Tiny Tim. the cloth was cleared. however. while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. and a custard-cup without a handle. as well as golden goblets would have done. 80 of 138 . meaning half a one. and the fire made up. and dreaded that he might be taken from him.A Christmas Carol of flour. but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. Everybody had something to say about it. and at Bob Cratchit’s elbow stood the family display of glass. God bless us. and wished to keep him by his side. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing. and Bob served it out with beaming looks. Two tumblers.’ Which all the family re-echoed. my dears. apples and oranges were put upon the table. He sat very close to his father’s side upon his little stool. Bob held his withered little hand in his. in what Bob Cratchit called a circle. It would have been flat heresy to do so. the hearth swept. Then Bob proposed: ‘A Merry Christmas to us all. These held the hot stuff from the jug.

and Where it is. If he be like to die. What then.’ 81 of 138 . Oh God. ‘tell me if Tiny Tim will live.’ said Scrooge. forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is. the child will die. with an interest he had never felt before. no. to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust. It may be. ‘in the poor chimney-corner. kind Spirit. ‘Man. no. say he will be spared.’ said Scrooge. and a crutch without an owner. you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. and was overcome with penitence and grief.’ Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit. and decrease the surplus population. ‘will find him here.’ ‘I see a vacant seat. ‘if man you be in heart.A Christmas Carol ‘Spirit.’ replied the Ghost. what men shall die. none other of my race.’ ‘If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future. he had better do it.’ ‘No. ‘Oh. Will you decide what men shall live. carefully preserved. not adamant. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future.’ said the Ghost. that in the sight of Heaven.’ returned the Ghost.

I have no doubt. but he didn’t care twopence for it. on hearing his own name. ‘the children.’ said Bob. ‘I wish I had him here. ‘Christmas Day.’ said Mrs Cratchit. ‘not for his. A merry Christmas and a happy new year.’ said Bob. ‘I’ll give you Mr Scrooge. hard. Long life to him. and I hope he’d have a good appetite for it. I am sure.’ ‘My dear. He’ll be very merry and very happy. You know he is. I’d give him a piece of my mind to feast upon. unfeeling man as Mr Scrooge. ‘Mr Scrooge. Robert.’ cried Mrs Cratchit. Nobody knows it better than you do.’ ‘I’ll drink his health for your sake and the Day’s. ‘on which one drinks the health of such an odious. Scrooge was the Ogre of the family. Tiny Tim drank it last of all.’ said she. and trembling cast his eyes upon the ground.A Christmas Carol Scrooge bent before the Ghost’s rebuke. It was the first of their proceedings which had no heartiness. The mention of his 82 of 138 .’ ‘It should be Christmas Day. reddening. stingy. But he raised them speedily.’ ‘The Founder of the Feast indeed.’ The children drank the toast after her. Christmas Day. poor fellow. the Founder of the Feast.’ ‘My dear.’ was Bob’s mild answer.

which was not dispelled for full five minutes. Martha. and Peter himself looked thoughtfully at the fire from between his collars. and by-andbye they had a song. if obtained. as if he were deliberating what particular investments he should favour when he came into the receipt of that bewildering income. Bob Cratchit told them how he had a situation in his eye for Master Peter. The two young Cratchits laughed tremendously at the idea of Peter’s being a man of business. they were ten times merrier than before. and how many hours she worked at a stretch. from the mere relief of Scrooge the Baleful being done with. who was a poor apprentice at a milliner’s. then told them what kind of work she had to do. full five-and-sixpence weekly. at which Peter pulled up his collars so high that you couldn’t have seen his head if you had been there. and how she meant to lie abed to-morrow morning for a good long rest. Also how she had seen a countess and a lord some days before. about a lost child travelling in the 83 of 138 . to-morrow being a holiday she passed at home. which would bring in. All this time the chestnuts and the jug went round and round. After it had passed away. and how the lord was much about as tall as Peter.A Christmas Carol name cast a dark shadow on the party.

But. aunts. grateful. and deep red curtains. until the last. By this time it was getting dark. with hot plates baking through and through before the fire. Here. the brightness of the roaring fires in kitchens. and sang it very well indeed. Scrooge had his eye upon them. uncles. There was nothing of high mark in this. They were not a handsome family. who had a plaintive little voice. and snowing pretty heavily. they were happy. and contented with the time. the inside of a pawnbroker’s. and as Scrooge and the Spirit went along the streets. and Peter might have known. cousins. ready to be drawn to shut out cold and darkness. and looked happier yet in the bright sprinklings of the Spirit’s torch at parting. and all sorts of rooms. was wonderful. their clothes were scanty. and be the first to greet them. from Tiny Tim. and there a group of handsome 84 of 138 . their shoes were far from being water-proof.A Christmas Carol snow. they were not well dressed. pleased with one another. and especially on Tiny Tim. There all the children of the house were running out into the snow to meet their married sisters. parlours. Here. again. the flickering of the blaze showed preparations for a cosy dinner. were shadows on the windowblind of guests assembling. brothers. and very likely did. and when they faded.

as though it were the burial-place of giants. woe upon the single man who saw them enter — artful witches. laughed out loudly as the Spirit passed. Blessings on it. but for the frost that held it prisoner. But. its bright and harmless mirth on everything within its reach. well they knew it — in a glow. and who was dressed to spend the evening somewhere. and piling up its fires half-chimney high. tripped lightly off to some near neighbour’s house. and water spread itself wheresoever it listed. outpouring. they stood upon a bleak and desert moor. all hooded and fur-booted. you might have thought that no one was at home to give them welcome when they got there. dotting the dusky street with specks of light. if you had judged from the numbers of people on their way to friendly gatherings. and opened its capacious palm. with a generous hand. though little kenned the lamplighter that he had any company but Christmas. and all chattering at once.A Christmas Carol girls. And now. without a word of warning from the Ghost. and nothing grew but moss and 85 of 138 . How it bared its breadth of breast. or would have done so. who ran on before. and floated on. where monstrous masses of rude stone were cast about. instead of every house expecting company. how the Ghost exulted. The very lamplighter. where.

was singing them a Christmas song — it had been a very old song when he was a boy — and from time to time they all joined in the chorus.’ asked Scrooge. all decked out gaily in their holiday attire. old man and woman. and frowning lower. lower. they found a cheerful company assembled round a glowing fire. in a voice that seldom rose above the howling of the wind upon the barren waste.’ returned the Spirit. lower yet. sped — whither. An old. his vigour sank again. but bade Scrooge hold his robe. The old man. which glared upon the desolation for an instant. 86 of 138 . and coarse rank grass. ‘What place is this. and another generation beyond that. So surely as they raised their voices. was lost in the thick gloom of darkest night. Down in the west the setting sun had left a streak of fiery red. and swiftly they advanced towards it. with their children and their children’s children. See. like a sullen eye.A Christmas Carol furze. ‘But they know me. Passing through the wall of mud and stone. and so surely as they stopped. and passing on above the moor. ‘A place where Miners live. The Spirit did not tarry here.’ A light shone from the window of a hut. the old man got quite blithe and loud. who labour in the bowels of the earth.

as sea-weed of the water — rose and fell about it. Joining their horny hands over the rough table at which they sat. behind them. view. To sea. But even here. looking back. too. and edit PDF. that through the loophole in the thick stone wall shed out a ray of brightness on the awful sea. like the waves they skimmed. Great heaps of sea-weed clung to its base. on — until. Built upon a dismal reef of sunken rocks. as he told Scrooge. and one of them: the elder. Again the Ghost sped on. the wild year through.eBook brought to you by A Christmas Carol Create. and fiercely tried to undermine the earth. Not to sea. there stood a solitary lighthouse. a frightful range of rocks. being far away. 87 of 138 . with his face all damaged and scarred with hard weather. two men who watched the light had made a fire. he saw the last of the land. as it rolled and roared. and raged among the dreadful caverns it had worn. some league or so from shore. and storm-birds — born of the wind one might suppose. as the figure-head of an old ship might be: struck up a sturdy song that was like a Gale in itself. on which the waters chafed and dashed. above the black and heaving sea — on. they wished each other Merry Christmas in their can of grog. Download the free trial version. and his ears were deafened by the thundering of water. To Scrooge’s horror.

or had a Christmas thought.’ 88 of 138 . dry. ‘Ha. and had known that they delighted to remember him. and thinking what a solemn thing it was to move on through the lonely darkness over an unknown abyss. waking or sleeping. while listening to the moaning of the wind. with the Spirit standing smiling by his side. And every man on board. gleaming room. ha. while thus engaged. and had shared to some extent in its festivities. and had remembered those he cared for at a distance. had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year. or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day. and looking at that same nephew with approving affability. the look-out in the bow. ha. ghostly figures in their several stations. whose depths were secrets as profound as Death: it was a great surprise to Scrooge. to hear a hearty laugh. ha. but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune. with homeward hopes belonging to it.’ laughed Scrooge’s nephew. It was a great surprise to Scrooge. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel. It was a much greater surprise to Scrooge to recognise it as his own nephew’s and to find himself in a bright.A Christmas Carol from any shore. good or bad. dark. the officers who had the watch. ‘Ha. they lighted on a ship.

that while there is infection in disease and sorrow. all kinds of good little dots about her chin. a ripe little mouth. With a dimpled. laughed as heartily as he. indignantly. Introduce him to me. even-handed. ‘Ha. they never do anything by halves. roared out lustily. Bless those women. Ha. by any unlikely chance. capital face. and the 89 of 138 .’ ‘More shame for him. They are always in earnest. surprised-looking. and twisting his face into the most extravagant contortions: Scrooge’s niece. there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour. It is a fair. that seemed made to be kissed — as no doubt it was. rolling his head.’ said Scrooge’s niece. She was very pretty: exceedingly pretty. by marriage. ‘He believed it too. ha. When Scrooge’s nephew laughed in this way: holding his sides.A Christmas Carol If you should happen.’ ‘He said that Christmas was a humbug. noble adjustment of things.’ cried Scrooge’s nephew. ha. ha. ha. Fred. I should like to know him too. all I can say is. and I’ll cultivate his acquaintance. And their assembled friends being not a bit behindhand. to know a man more blest in a laugh than Scrooge’s nephew. as I live. that melted into one another when she laughed.

his offences carry their own punishment. ‘He’s a comical old fellow. He don’t lose much of a dinner.’ observed Scrooge’s niece. I think he loses a very good dinner. ha. expressed the same opinion.’ ‘I have no patience with him. — that he is ever going to benefit us with it. He don’t do any good with it. ha. 90 of 138 . and I have nothing to say against him. ‘Oh. always. he takes it into his head to dislike us. I couldn’t be angry with him if I tried.A Christmas Carol sunniest pair of eyes you ever saw in any little creature’s head. Who suffers by his ill whims. ‘His wealth is of no use to him.’ ‘I’m sure he is very rich. Himself.’ ‘What of that. ‘I am sorry for him. ‘At least you always tell me so. Everybody else said the same.’ hinted Scrooge’s niece. and all the other ladies. and he won’t come and dine with us.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. Fred.’ interrupted Scrooge’s niece. He hasn’t the satisfaction of thinking — ha.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. He don’t make himself comfortable with it. Altogether she was what you would have called provoking. I have.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. my dear. but satisfactory. However.’ that’s the truth: and not so pleasant as he might be. What’s the consequence.’ ‘Indeed. Here. Scrooge’s niece’s sisters. you know.

clapping her hands. ‘Well. Topper. ‘He never finishes what he begins to say.’ said Scrooge’s niece. who had no right to express an opinion on the subject. Whereat Scrooge’s niece’s sister — the plump one with the lace tucker: not the one with the roses — blushed. I’m very glad to hear it. which could do him no harm. that he loses some pleasant moments. ‘Do go on. though the plump sister tried hard to do it with aromatic vinegar. with the dessert upon the table. What do you say. and not making merry with us.’ Scrooge’s nephew revelled in another laugh. because they had just had dinner. He is such a ridiculous fellow. ‘because I haven’t great faith in these young housekeepers. were clustered round the fire. is.’ said Scrooge’s nephew.’ that the consequence of his taking a dislike to us. Fred. and. I am 91 of 138 .’ said Scrooge’s nephew.’ Topper had clearly got his eye upon one of Scrooge’s niece’s sisters. as I think. his example was unanimously followed. for he answered that a bachelor was a wretched outcast. ‘I was only going to say. by lamplight. and as it was impossible to keep the infection off.A Christmas Carol and they must be allowed to have been competent judges.

but he can’t help thinking better of it — I defy him — if he finds me going there. He may rail at Christmas till he dies. and knew what they were about. that’s something. he encouraged them in their merriment. which had been familiar to the child who 92 of 138 . who could growl away in the bass like a good one.’ It was their turn to laugh now at the notion of his shaking Scrooge. I can assure you: especially Topper. or get red in the face over it. so that they laughed at any rate. how are you. they had some music. Scrooge’s niece played well upon the harp. After tea. For they were a musical family. and not much caring what they laughed at. whether he likes it or not. for I pity him. If it only puts him in the vein to leave his poor clerk fifty pounds. and played among other tunes a simple little air (a mere nothing: you might learn to whistle it in two minutes).A Christmas Carol sure he loses pleasanter companions than he can find in his own thoughts. But being thoroughly good-natured. year after year. or his dusty chambers. and I think I shook him yesterday. and passed the bottle joyously. in good temper. when they sung a Glee or Catch. I mean to give him the same chance every year. either in his mouldy old office. and never swell the large veins in his forehead. and saying Uncle Scrooge.

tumbling over the chairs. And I no more believe Topper was really blind than I believe he had eyes in his boots. There was first a game at blind-man’s buff. Of course there was. He wouldn’t catch anybody else. and that the Ghost of Christmas Present knew it. If you had fallen up against him (as some of them did). and thought that if he could have listened to it often. for it is good to be children sometimes. he might have cultivated the kindnesses of life for his own happiness with his own hands. without resorting to the sexton’s spade that buried Jacob Marley. Knocking down the fire-irons. He always knew where the plump sister was. bumping against the piano. that it was a done thing between him and Scrooge’s nephew.A Christmas Carol fetched Scrooge from the boarding-school. My opinion is. and never better than at Christmas. Stop. The way he went after that plump sister in the lace tucker. all the things that Ghost had shown him. he softened more and more. was an outrage on the credulity of human nature. After a while they played at forfeits. as he had been reminded by the Ghost of Christmas Past. years ago. wherever she went. when its mighty Founder was a child himself. came upon his mind. But they didn’t devote the whole evening to music. on 93 of 138 . smothering himself among the curtains. there went he. When this strain of music sounded.

But when at last. behind the curtains. which would have been an affront to your understanding. Scrooge’s niece was not one of the blind-man’s buff party. and Where. he got her into a corner whence there was no escape. then his conduct was the most execrable. But she joined in the forfeits. was vile. he caught her. when. She often cried out that it wasn’t fair. in spite of all her silken rustlings. his pretending that it was necessary to touch her head-dress. another blind-man being in office. he would have made a feint of endeavouring to seize you. where the Ghost and Scrooge were close behind her. When. beat her sisters hollow: though they 94 of 138 . and her rapid flutterings past him. when. For his pretending not to know her. she was very great. they were so very confidential together. and further to assure himself of her identity by pressing a certain ring upon her finger.A Christmas Carol purpose. and would instantly have sidled off in the direction of the plump sister. and to the secret joy of Scrooge’s nephew. No doubt she told him her opinion of it. and a certain chain about her neck. monstrous. but was made comfortable with a large chair and a footstool. Likewise at the game of How. and it really was not. and loved her love to admiration with all the letters of the alphabet. in a snug corner.

and lived in London. as could have told you. ‘Here is a new game. he sometimes came out with his guess quite loud. too. rather a disagreeable animal. Spirit. blunt as he took it in his head to be. and wasn’t 95 of 138 . where Scrooge’s nephew had to think of something. but they all played.’ It was a Game called Yes and No. and the rest must find out what.’ said Scrooge. that he begged like a boy to be allowed to stay until the guests departed. a live animal. But this the Spirit said could not be done. ‘One half hour. a savage animal. and walked about the streets. and so did Scrooge. and wasn’t made a show of. only one. an animal that growled and grunted sometimes. and very often guessed quite right. was not sharper than Scrooge. elicited from him that he was thinking of an animal. as the case was. The brisk fire of questioning to which he was exposed. for. and talked sometimes. warranted not to cut in the eye. best Whitechapel. and looked upon him with such favour. for the sharpest needle. There might have been twenty people there. wholly forgetting the interest he had in what was going on.A Christmas Carol were sharp girls too. The Ghost was greatly pleased to find him in this mood. that his voice made no sound in their ears. young and old. he only answering to their questions yes or no.

’ said Fred. or a bear. Admiration was the universal sentiment. falling into a similar state. At last the plump sister.’ cried Fred. or an ass. or a cow. or a tiger.‘‘ ‘Well. Fred. supposing they had ever had any tendency that way. or a pig.’ Which it certainly was. 96 of 138 . I know what it is. or a dog. and was so inexpressibly tickled.’ they cried. this nephew burst into a fresh roar of laughter. I know what it is. ‘It’s your Uncle Scrooge. ‘He has given us plenty of merriment. though some objected that the reply to ‘Is it a bear.’ inasmuch as an answer in the negative was sufficient to have diverted their thoughts from Mr Scrooge. and didn’t live in a menagerie. ‘Uncle Scrooge.’ and it would be ungrateful not to drink his health. that he was obliged to get up off the sofa and stamp. or a cat. or a bull. At every fresh question that was put to him. cried out: ‘I have found it out. and was never killed in a market.’ ‘What is it. Here is a glass of mulled wine ready to our hand at the moment. and I say.’ ought to have been ‘Yes. I am sure.A Christmas Carol led by anybody. and was not a horse. Uncle Scrooge.

but Scrooge had his doubts of this. The Spirit stood beside sick beds. and it was rich. and many homes they visited. because the Christmas Holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together. that while Scrooge 97 of 138 . and thanked them in an inaudible speech. whatever he is. by struggling men. and jail. It was a long night. but always with a happy end.’ said Scrooge’s nephew. where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out. hospital. if the Ghost had given him time. and they were cheerful. on foreign lands. But the whole scene passed off in the breath of the last word spoken by his nephew. too. but may he have it.’ Uncle Scrooge had imperceptibly become so gay and light of heart. if it were only a night. Much they saw. nevertheless. and they were patient in their greater hope.A Christmas Carol ‘A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the old man. by poverty. in misery’s every refuge. that he would have pledged the unconscious company in return. and they were close at home. It was strange. and he and the Spirit were again upon their travels. and taught Scrooge his precepts. ‘He wouldn’t take it from me. In almshouse. Uncle Scrooge. and far they went. he left his blessing.

‘To-night at midnight.’ asked Scrooge. clearly older. The time is drawing near. ‘Are spirits’ lives so short. ‘Look here. 98 of 138 .’ From the foldings of its robe. when. he noticed that its hair was grey. Is it a foot or a claw. ‘It ends to-night. but never spoke of it. ‘My life upon this globe.’ but I see something strange. ‘Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask. the Ghost grew older. it brought two children. looking intently at the Spirit’s robe. frightful. Scrooge had observed this change. and clung upon the outside of its garment.A Christmas Carol remained unaltered in his outward form.’ replied the Ghost.’ ‘It might be a claw. abject. looking at the Spirit as they stood together in an open place.’ cried Scrooge.’ ‘To-night. wretched. They knelt down at its feet. miserable.’ was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. until they left a children’s Twelfth Night party. hideous.’ The chimes were ringing the three quarters past eleven at that moment. Hark. for the flesh there is upon it. is very brief.’ said Scrooge. and not belonging to yourself. protruding from your skirts.

’ cried the Spirit. unless the writing be erased. and twisted them. and glared out menacing. Beware them both. scowling. he tried to say they were fine children. a stale and shrivelled hand. no perversion of humanity. like that of age. No change. ‘Oh. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out. and touched them with its freshest tints. in any grade. too. looking down upon them. This boy is Ignorance.’ Scrooge could say no more. through all the mysteries of wonderful creation. look here. 99 of 138 . ‘They are Man’s. no degradation. view. Where angels might have sat enthroned. Yellow. had pinched. Look. Scrooge started back. appealing from their fathers. appalled. but the words choked themselves. look. meagre. for on his brow I see that written which is Doom. are they yours. Download the free trial version.eBook brought to you by A Christmas Carol Create. This girl is Want. ‘And they cling to me. and pulled them into shreds. Having them shown to him in this way. Man. down here. has monsters half so horrible and dread. and all of their degree.’ exclaimed the Ghost.’ said the Spirit. in their humility. Deny it. They were a boy and a girl. devils lurked. but most of all beware this boy. rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude. but prostrate. wolfish. ‘Spirit. ragged. and edit PDF.

’ said the Spirit. ‘Slander those who tell it ye. and lifting up his eyes. Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost. As the last stroke ceased to vibrate. 100 of 138 . he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley. draped and hooded. turning on him for the last time with his own words. ‘Are there no prisons. beheld a solemn Phantom.’ cried Scrooge.’ The bell struck twelve. coming. And abide the end. and saw it not.A Christmas Carol stretching out its hand towards the city. like a mist along the ground. ‘Are there no workhouses.’ ‘Have they no refuge or resource. towards him. and make it worse. Admit it for your factious purposes.

which concealed its head. its form. its face. ‘I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. gravely. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night. for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. ‘Is that so. but will happen in the time before us. silently approached. He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him. Scrooge bent down upon his knee. Spirit. He knew no more.’ Scrooge pursued. ‘You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened. The Spirit answered not. It was shrouded in a deep black garment. for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved.’ 101 of 138 . and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. but pointed onward with its hand. When it came.A Christmas Carol Stave 4: The Last of the Spirits The Phantom slowly. and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded. and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread.’ said Scrooge.

A Christmas Carol The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an instant in its folds. there were ghostly eyes intently fixed upon him. as observing his condition. That was the only answer he received. But Scrooge was all the worse for this. could see nothing but a spectral hand and one great heap of black. It thrilled him with a vague uncertain horror. 102 of 138 .’ I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. and he found that he could hardly stand when he prepared to follow it. while he. and giving him time to recover. Will you not speak to me. I am prepared to bear you company.’ It gave him no reply.’ he exclaimed. to know that behind the dusky shroud. The Spirit pauses a moment. Although well used to ghostly company by this time. and do it with a thankful heart. But as I know your purpose is to do me good. though he stretched his own to the utmost. as if the Spirit had inclined its head. and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was. Scrooge feared the silent shape so much that his legs trembled beneath him. The hand was pointed straight before them. ‘Ghost of the Future.

and looked at their watches.’ I don’t know much about it. They scarcely seemed to enter the city. for the city rather seemed to spring up about them. which bore him up. and so forth. The night is waning fast.’ ‘When did he die.’ The Phantom moved away as it had come towards him. I only know he’s dead. and trifled thoughtfully with their great gold seals. The Spirit stopped beside one little knot of business men. who hurried up and down. Scrooge followed in the shadow of its dress. ‘Lead on.’ 103 of 138 . either way. ‘No. he thought. I believe. ‘Last night. amongst the merchants. and conversed in groups. and encompass them of its own act.’ said a great fat man with a monstrous chin.A Christmas Carol ‘Lead on. and carried him along. But there they were. I know. Observing that the hand was pointed to them. and chinked the money in their pockets. Scrooge advanced to listen to their talk. and it is precious time to me.’ said Scrooge. in the heart of it.’ inquired another. as Scrooge had seen them often. on Change. Lead on. Spirit.

’ ‘God knows.’ said the man with the large chin. if I make one. ‘Left it to his company. perhaps. ‘I thought he’d never die. ‘What has he done with his money. after all. with a yawn. yawning again. ‘But I must be fed.’ said the same speaker.’ asked a third. ‘It’s likely to be a very cheap funeral.’ said the first speaker. Bye. that shook like the gills of a turkey-cock.A Christmas Carol ‘Why. for we used to stop and speak whenever we met.’ This pleasantry was received with a general laugh. When I come to think of it. I am the most disinterested among you. and I never eat lunch.’ observed the gentleman with the excrescence on his nose.’ 104 of 138 . what was the matter with him. ‘Well.’ ‘I don’t mind going if a lunch is provided.’ for I never wear black gloves.’ asked a red-faced gentleman with a pendulous excrescence on the end of his nose. I’m not at all sure that I wasn’t his most particular friend.’ for upon my life I don’t know of anybody to go to it.’ said the first.’ Another laugh. taking a vast quantity of snuff out of a very large snuffbox. ‘I haven’t heard. But I’ll offer to go. That’s all I know. Suppose we make up a party and volunteer. if anybody else will. He hasn’t left it to me. bye.

also.A Christmas Carol Speakers and listeners strolled away. ‘How are you. thinking that the explanation might lie here.’ ‘No. that is.’ returned the other. and looked towards the Spirit for an explanation. and their parting. No. They were men of aye business: very wealthy. ‘Well.’ ‘So I am told. He knew these men. Good morning.’ said one. their conversation. strictly in a business point of view. perfectly. Its finger pointed to two persons meeting. He had made a point always of standing well in their esteem: in a business point of view. Scrooge listened again. Scrooge was at first inclined to be surprised that the Spirit should attach importance to conversations apparently so trivial. ‘How are you. ‘Cold. and of great importance. isn’t it.’ ‘Seasonable for Christmas time. Scrooge knew the men.’ Not another word.’ said the first. and mixed with other groups. but feeling assured that they must 105 of 138 . ‘Old Scratch has got his own at last. Something else to think of. hey.’ returned the second. I suppose. That was their meeting. You’re not a skater. The Phantom glided on into a street.

When he roused himself from his thoughtful quest. and thought and hoped he saw his new-born resolutions carried out in this. Quiet and dark. and this Ghost’s province was the Future. Nor could he think of any one immediately connected with himself. he saw no likeness of himself among the multitudes that poured in through the Porch. 106 of 138 . For he had an expectation that the conduct of his future self would give him the clue he missed. and everything he saw.A Christmas Carol have some hidden purpose. with its outstretched hand. and though the clock pointed to his usual time of day for being there. and especially to observe the shadow of himself when it appeared. however. his old partner. for he had been revolving in his mind a change of life. he set himself to consider what it was likely to be. and would render the solution of these riddles easy. he resolved to treasure up every word he heard. They could scarcely be supposed to have any bearing on the death of Jacob. beside him stood the Phantom. for that was Past. It gave him little surprise. to whom he could apply them. He looked about in that very place for his own image. but another man stood in his accustomed corner. But nothing doubting that to whomsoever they applied they had some latent moral for his own improvement. he fancied from the turn of the hand.

Secrets that few would like to scrutinise were bred and hidden in mountains of unseemly rags. that the Unseen Eyes were looking at him keenly. Far in this den of infamous resort. bottles. made of old bricks. by a frousy curtaining of miscellaneous tatters. the people half-naked.A Christmas Carol and its situation in reference to himself. files. was a grey-haired rascal. Upon the floor within. drunken. ugly. by a charcoal stove. weights. nails. there was a lowbrowed. and misery. It made him shudder. who had screened himself from the cold air without. where Scrooge had never penetrated before. were bought. slipshod. although he recognised its situation. and dirt. masses of corrupted fat. Alleys and archways. old rags. and went into an obscure part of the town. and life. The ways were foul and narrow. and its bad repute. with filth. the shops and houses wretched. nearly seventy years of age. and the whole quarter reeked with crime. were piled up heaps of rusty keys. and greasy offal. chains. like so many cesspools. and feel very cold. scales. disgorged their offences of smell. below a pent-house roof. and refuse iron of all kinds. beetling shop. bones. Sitting in among the wares he dealt in. and sepulchres of bones. 107 of 138 . upon the straggling streets. hinges. where iron. They left the busy scene.

’ ‘You couldn’t have met in a better place. 108 of 138 . than they had been upon the recognition of each other.’ said old Joe. who was no less startled by the sight of them. There an’t such a rusty bit of metal in the place as its own hinges. in which the old man with the pipe had joined them. You were made free of it long ago. If we haven’t all three met here without meaning it. Ha. ha. when another woman. Scrooge and the Phantom came into the presence of this man. I believe. removing his pipe from his mouth. and the other two an’t strangers. as mine. they all three burst into a laugh. came in too. ‘Come into the parlour. here’s a chance. But she had scarcely entered. Look here.A Christmas Carol hung upon a line. After a short period of blank astonishment. you know. and she was closely followed by a man in faded black. Stop till I shut the door of the shop. and smoked his pipe in all the luxury of calm retirement. old Joe. and let the undertaker’s man alone to be the third. and I’m sure there’s no such old bones here. How it skreeks. Ah. ‘Let the charwoman alone to be the first. ‘Let the laundress alone to be the second. just as a woman with a heavy bundle slunk into the shop.’ cried she who had entered first. similarly laden.

laughing. we’re well matched. and having trimmed his smoky lamp (for it was night).’ said Mrs Dilber and the man together. 109 of 138 . Not a dead man. who’s the wiser.’ said Mrs Dilber. Who’s the worse for the loss of a few things like these.’ ‘Why then. What odds.’ cried the woman.’ said the laundress. Come into the parlour. ‘What odds then.’ ‘No. indeed. with the stem of his pipe.A Christmas Carol We’re all suitable to our calling.’ ‘Very well. ‘Every person has a right to take care of themselves.’ The parlour was the space behind the screen of rags. and sat down in a flaunting manner on a stool. I suppose. ‘That’s enough. the woman who had already spoken threw her bundle on the floor. then.’ said the woman. We’re not going to pick holes in each other’s coats. ‘No man more so. He always did. The old man raked the fire together with an old stair-rod. ‘We should hope not.’ ‘No. put it in his mouth again. I suppose. Mrs Dilber. indeed.’ ‘That’s true. and looking with a bold defiance at the other two. crossing her elbows on her knees. indeed. don’t stand staring as if you was afraid. While he did this. woman. Come into the parlour.

’ ‘It’s the truest word that ever was spoke. and let me know the value of it. A seal or two. a pencil-case. I’m not afraid to be the first. and added them up into a total when he found there was nothing more to come. Open the bundle. Open that bundle.A Christmas Carol ‘If he wanted to keep them after he was dead. he’d have had somebody to look after him when he was struck with Death. who chalked the sums he was disposed to give for each.’ pursued the woman. upon the wall. and the man in faded black. mounting the breach first.’ ‘I wish it was a little heavier judgment. before we met here. produced his plunder.’ why wasn’t he natural in his lifetime. Speak out plain. instead of lying gasping out his last there. I believe. Joe. alone by himself. a wicked old screw.’ But the gallantry of her friends would not allow of this.’ replied the woman. 110 of 138 . were all. We know pretty well that we were helping ourselves. nor afraid for them to see it. and a brooch of no great value. you may depend upon it. They were severally examined and appraised by old Joe. if I could have laid my hands on anything else. old Joe.’ and it should have been. If he had been. It was not extensive. a pair of sleeve-buttons. It’s no sin. ‘It’s a judgment on him.’ said Mrs Dilber.

‘Why not. ‘Bed-curtains. ‘That’s your account. and that’s the way I ruin myself. Sheets and towels. rings and all.’ said Joe. ‘I always give too much to ladies. laughing and leaning forward on her crossed arms.’ said the first woman. and edit PDF.’ 111 of 138 . Joe went down on his knees for the greater convenience of opening it.’ ‘You don’t mean to say you took them down.eBook brought to you by A Christmas Carol Create.’ replied the woman.’ said Joe. Joe.’ ‘And now undo my bundle. I’d repent of being so liberal and knock off half-a-crown. view. ‘Yes I do.’ returned the woman.’ said old Joe. If you asked me for another penny. and having unfastened a great many knots. and a few boots. two old-fashioned silver teaspoons.’ and I wouldn’t give another sixpence. Who’s next. Her account was stated on the wall in the same manner. ‘That’s your account. and made it an open question.’ said Joe. with him lying there. ‘Bed-curtains. Download the free trial version. a little wearing apparel. dragged out a large and heavy roll of some dark stuff.’ ‘Ah. It’s a weakness of mine. a pair of sugar-tongs. if I was to be boiled for not doing it.’ Mrs Dilber was next. ‘What do you call this.

’ asked old Joe. It’s quite as becoming to the body. ‘Don’t you be afraid of that.’ 112 of 138 .’ ‘I certainly shan’t hold my hand. and looking up. I promise you. if it hadn’t been for me. Eh.’ replied the woman with a laugh. to be sure. If calico an’t good enough for such a purpose. ‘Putting it on him to be buried in. but I took it off again.A Christmas Carol ‘You were born to make your fortune.’ replied the woman.’ ‘His blankets.’ said old Joe.’ ‘What do you call wasting of it. stopping in his work. ‘I an’t so fond of his company that I’d loiter about him for such things.’ ‘I hope he didn’t die of any thing catching. but you won’t find a hole in it. when I can get anything in it by reaching it out.’ said Joe.’ returned the woman coolly.’ and you’ll certainly do it. now. He can’t look uglier than he did in that one. ‘Somebody was fool enough to do it. ‘He isn’t likely to take cold without them. nor a threadbare place. it isn’t good enough for anything. ‘Don’t drop that oil upon the blankets. I dare say. and a fine one too. if he did. They’d have wasted it. for the sake of such a man as he was.’ returned the woman. It’s the best he had. you may look through that shirt till your eyes ache.’ asked Joe. Ah. ‘Whose else’s do you think. Joe.

’ said Scrooge. though Scrooge glanced round it in obedience to a secret impulse. too dark to be observed with any accuracy. As they sat grouped about their spoil. now. 113 of 138 .’ ‘Spirit. The case of this unhappy man might be my own.A Christmas Carol Scrooge listened to this dialogue in horror.’ He recoiled in terror.’ laughed the same woman. which. A pale light. He frightened every one away from him when he was alive. marketing the corpse itself. there lay a something covered up. ha. ‘This is the end of it. in the scanty light afforded by the old man’s lamp. I see. uncurtained bed: on which. told out their several gains upon the ground. and on it. The room was very dark. anxious to know what kind of room it was. when old Joe. which could hardly have been greater. fell straight upon the bed. you see. My life tends that way. producing a flannel bag with money in it. ‘I see. though the demons. shuddering from head to foot. and now he almost touched a bed: a bare. Merciful Heaven. to profit us when he was dead. what is this. ha. Ha. ha. announced itself in awful language. ‘Ha. he viewed them with a detestation and disgust. plundered and bereft. though it was dumb. rising in the outer air. beneath a ragged sheet. for the scene had changed.

uncared for. warm. to sow the world with life immortal. was the body of this man. But of the loved. Scrooge glanced towards the Phantom. and tender.A Christmas Carol unwatched. revered. or make one feature odious. strike. He thought. Its steady hand was pointed to the head. Oh cold. set up thine altar here. generous. thou canst not turn one hair to thy dread purposes. Shadow. cold. and the pulse a man’s. the heart brave. rigid. unwept. It is not that the hand is heavy and will fall down when released. dreadful Death. And see his good deeds springing from the wound. He thought of it. felt how easy it would be to do. No voice pronounced these words in Scrooge’s ears. and longed to do it. but that the hand was open. would have disclosed the face. the motion of a finger upon Scrooge’s part. and true. and yet he heard them when he looked upon the bed. it is not that the heart and pulse are still. The cover was so carelessly adjusted that the slightest raising of it. what would 114 of 138 . and dress it with such terrors as thou hast at thy command: for this is thy dominion. and honoured head. but had no more power to withdraw the veil than to dismiss the spectre at his side. Strike. if this man could be raised up now.

griping cares. I beseech you. ‘If there is any person in the town. to say that he was kind to me in this or that. trust me. in the dark empty house.’ The Phantom spread its dark robe before him for a moment. if I could. or a child. In leaving it. ‘show that person to me. and for the memory of one kind word I will be kind to him. with not a man. They have brought him to a rich end. Spirit. where a mother and her children were. But I have not the power. revealed a room by daylight. Avarice. He lay. 115 of 138 . Spirit. who feels emotion caused by this man’s death.’ Still the Ghost pointed with an unmoved finger to the head. truly. and there was a sound of gnawing rats beneath the hearth-stone.’ Again it seemed to look upon him. ‘I understand you. hard-dealing.’ he said. ‘Spirit.’ and I would do it. and withdrawing it. like a wing.A Christmas Carol be his foremost thoughts. I have not the power. Let us go. Scrooge did not dare to think. a woman.’ this is a fearful place. and why they were so restless and disturbed. I shall not leave its lesson.’ Scrooge returned.’ said Scrooge quite agonised. What they wanted in the room of death. A cat was tearing at the door.

glanced at the clock.’ she said.’ said her husband.’ ‘He is past relenting. ‘Bad. He sat down to the dinner that had been boarding for him by the fire. Caroline. ‘or bad?’ — to help him. he appeared embarrassed how to answer. and which he struggled to repress. started at every sound. and when she asked him faintly what news (which was not until after a long silence). There is hope yet. and met her husband. ‘He is dead.’ he answered. if such a miracle has happened.A Christmas Carol She was expecting some one. At length the long-expected knock was heard. There was a remarkable expression in it now. a man whose face was careworn and depressed.’ ‘No.’ ‘If he relents. but in vain. tried. ‘there is. Nothing is past hope. a kind of serious delight of which he felt ashamed. She hurried to the door. but she was thankful in her soul to hear it.’ She was a mild and patient creature if her face spoke truth. amazed. ‘Is it good. ‘We are quite ruined. to work with her needle. and with anxious eagerness. though he was young. and she 116 of 138 .’ she said. for she walked up and down the room. looked out from the window. and could hardly bear the voices of the children in their play.

caused by the event.’ ‘I don’t know.A Christmas Carol said so. were brighter. said to me. and was sorry.’ Yes. but the first was the emotion of her heart.’ or that dark chamber. The only emotion that the Ghost could show him. ‘What the half-drunken woman whom I told you of last night. He was not only very ill. their hearts were lighter.’ 117 of 138 . and even though we were not. We may sleep to-night with light hearts. will be for ever present to me. Soften it as they would. Spirit. which we left just now.’ ‘To whom will our debt be transferred. The children’s faces. and it was a happier house for this man’s death. then. it would be a bad fortune indeed to find so merciless a creditor in his successor. was one of pleasure. Caroline. hushed and clustered round to hear what they so little understood. But before that time we shall be ready with the money. ‘Let me see some tenderness connected with a death. and what I thought was a mere excuse to avoid me. with clasped hands. but dying. turns out to have been quite true. She prayed forgiveness the next moment. when I tried to see him and obtain a week’s delay.’ said Scrooge.

’ Where had Scrooge heard those words. and sat looking up at Peter. Very quiet.’ said Cratchit’s wife. and found the mother and the children seated round the fire. the dwelling he had visited before. but nowhere was he to be seen. He had not dreamed them. The noisy little Cratchits were as still as statues in one corner. The boy must have read them out. who had a book before him. ‘It makes them weak by candle-light. ‘And he took a child. and I wouldn’t show 118 of 138 . and as they went along. and set him in the midst of them. The mother and her daughters were engaged in sewing. But surely they were very quiet. The mother laid her work upon the table. Scrooge looked here and there to find himself. as he and the Spirit crossed the threshold. The colour. Ah. poor Tiny Tim. Quiet.A Christmas Carol The Ghost conducted him through several streets familiar to his feet.’ she said. They entered poor Bob Cratchit’s house. ‘The colour hurts my eyes. ‘They’re better now again. and put her hand up to her face. Why did he not go on.

that only faltered once: ‘I have known him walk with — I have known him walk with Tiny Tim upon his shoulder. and they all tried who should help him to it most. each child a little cheek. against his face. So had all. ‘But he was very light to carry. He looked at the work upon the table. And there is your father at the door.’ ‘And so have I. mother. It must be near his time. and spoke pleasantly to all the family. and in a steady.’ Don’t mind it.’ She hurried out to meet him.’ cried Peter. very fast indeed. these few last evenings.’ They were very quiet again.’ Bob was very cheerful with them.A Christmas Carol weak eyes to your father when he comes home.’ Peter answered. poor fellow — came in. for the world. 119 of 138 . shutting up his book. as if they said. Don’t be grieved.’ ‘Past it rather. father.’ ‘And so have I. His tea was ready for him on the hob. intent upon her work. that it was no trouble: no trouble. and little Bob in his comforter — he had need of it. ‘But I think he has walked a little slower than he used. Then the two young Cratchits got upon his knees and laid. cheerful voice. At last she said. ‘Often.’ and his father loved him so.’ she resumed.’ exclaimed another.

A Christmas Carol

and praised the industry and speed of Mrs Cratchit and the girls. They would be done long before Sunday, he said. ‘Sunday. You went to-day, then, Robert.’ said his wife. ‘Yes, my dear,’ returned Bob. ‘I wish you could have gone. It would have done you good to see how green a place it is. But you’ll see it often. I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday. My little, little child.’ cried Bob. ‘My little child.’ He broke down all at once. He couldn’t help it. If he could have helped it, he and his child would have been farther apart perhaps than they were. He left the room, and went up-stairs into the room above, which was lighted cheerfully, and hung with Christmas. There was a chair set close beside the child, and there were signs of some one having been there, lately. Poor Bob sat down in it, and when he had thought a little and composed himself, he kissed the little face. He was reconciled to what had happened, and went down again quite happy. They drew about the fire, and talked; the girls and mother working still. Bob told them of the extraordinary kindness of Mr Scrooge’s nephew, whom he had scarcely seen but once, and who, meeting him in the street that day, and seeing that he looked a little -’ just a little down 120 of 138

A Christmas Carol

you know,’ said Bob, inquired what had happened to distress him. ‘On which,’ said Bob,’ for he is the pleasantest-spoken gentleman you ever heard, I told him. ‘I am heartily sorry for it, Mr Cratchit,’ he said,’ and heartily sorry for your good wife.’ By the bye, how he ever knew that, I don’t know.’ ‘Knew what, my dear.’ ‘Why, that you were a good wife,’ replied Bob. ‘Everybody knows that.’ said Peter. ‘Very well observed, my boy.’ cried Bob. ‘I hope they do. ‘Heartily sorry,’ he said,’ for your good wife. If I can be of service to you in any way,’ he said, giving me his card,’ that’s where I live. Pray come to me.’ Now, it wasn’t,’ cried Bob,’ for the sake of anything he might be able to do for us, so much as for his kind way, that this was quite delightful. It really seemed as if he had known our Tiny Tim, and felt with us.’ ‘I’m sure he’s a good soul.’ said Mrs Cratchit. ‘You would be surer of it, my dear,’ returned Bob,’ if you saw and spoke to him. I shouldn’t be at all surprised mark what I say. — if he got Peter a better situation.’ ‘Only hear that, Peter,’ said Mrs Cratchit.

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‘And then,’ cried one of the girls,’ Peter will be keeping company with some one, and setting up for himself.’ ‘Get along with you.’ retorted Peter, grinning. ‘It’s just as likely as not,’ said Bob,’ one of these days; though there’s plenty of time for that, my dear. But however and when ever we part from one another, I am sure we shall none of us forget poor Tiny Tim — shall we — or this first parting that there was among us.’ ‘Never, father.’ cried they all. ‘And I know,’ said Bob,’ I know, my dears, that when we recollect how patient and how mild he was; although he was a little, little child; we shall not quarrel easily among ourselves, and forget poor Tiny Tim in doing it.’ ‘No, never, father.’ they all cried again. ‘I am very happy,’ said little Bob,’ I am very happy.’ Mrs Cratchit kissed him, his daughters kissed him, the two young Cratchits kissed him, and Peter and himself shook hands. Spirit of Tiny Tim, thy childish essence was from God. ‘Spectre,’ said Scrooge,’ something informs me that our parting moment is at hand. I know it, but I know not how. Tell me what man that was whom we saw lying dead.’ 122 of 138

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The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come conveyed him, as before — though at a different time, he thought: indeed, there seemed no order in these latter visions, save that they were in the Future — into the resorts of business men, but showed him not himself. Indeed, the Spirit did not stay for anything, but went straight on, as to the end just now desired, until besought by Scrooge to tarry for a moment. ‘This courts,’ said Scrooge,’ through which we hurry now, is where my place of occupation is, and has been for a length of time. I see the house. Let me behold what I shall be, in days to come.’ The Spirit stopped; the hand was pointed elsewhere. ‘The house is yonder,’ Scrooge exclaimed. ‘Why do you point away.’ The inexorable finger underwent no change. Scrooge hastened to the window of his office, and looked in. It was an office still, but not his. The furniture was not the same, and the figure in the chair was not himself. The Phantom pointed as before. He joined it once again, and wondering why and whither he had gone, accompanied it until they reached an iron gate. He paused to look round before entering.

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Scrooge crept towards it. ‘Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends. Say it is thus with what you show me. It was a worthy place.’ Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood. 124 of 138 . lay underneath the ground. fat with repleted appetite.’ said Scrooge. only. they must lead. Ebenezer Scrooge. choked up with too much burying. and pointed down to One. not life. ‘Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point. ‘answer me one question. or are they shadows of things that May be. but he dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn shape. The Phantom was exactly as it had been. the wretched man whose name he had now to learn. The Spirit stood among the graves.’ The Spirit was immovable as ever. then. read upon the stone of the neglected grave his own name. A worthy place. He advanced towards it trembling. ‘But if the courses be departed from. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be. if persevered in.A Christmas Carol A churchyard. Here. Walled in by houses. and following the finger. overrun by grass and weeds.’ said Scrooge. the growth of vegetation’s death. the ends will change. to which. trembling as he went.

he caught the spectral hand.’ The kind hand trembled. by an altered life. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. I am not the man I was. repulsed him. ‘Spirit. tight clutching at its robe. if I am past all hope. ‘No. and try to keep it all the year. Spirit. 125 of 138 . Why show me this. Oh. Oh no. stronger yet. The Spirit. ‘Good Spirit. upon his knees.’ hear me. and back again. as down upon the ground he fell before it:’ Your nature intercedes for me.’ he cried. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. and detained it. no. and the Future. and pities me.’ he cried.’ In his agony. The finger pointed from the grave to him.’ The finger still was there. ‘I will honour Christmas in my heart. I will live in the Past. It sought to free itself.’ he pursued. the Present.A Christmas Carol ‘Am I that man who lay upon the bed.’ For the first time the hand appeared to shake. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone. but he was strong in his entreaty. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me.

and dwindled down into a bedpost. collapsed. he saw an alteration in the Phantom’s hood and dress. It shrunk.A Christmas Carol Holding up his hands in a last prayer to have his fate aye reversed. 126 of 138 .

making them parties to every kind of extravagance.’ He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions. I say it on my knees.’ cried Scrooge. mislaying them. Best and happiest of all. and his face was wet with tears. Heaven. that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call.A Christmas Carol Stave 5: The End of It Yes! and the bedpost was his own. ‘They are not torn down. rings and all. I know they will. They will be.’ His hands were busy with his garments all this time. and the Future. Oh Jacob Marley. 127 of 138 . turning them inside out. ‘The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. as he scrambled out of bed. The bed was his own. putting them on upside down. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit. to make amends in! ‘I will live in the Past. the room was his own. the Time before him was his own. old Jacob. tearing them. and the Christmas Time be praised for this. on my knees. may be dispelled. the Present.’ they are not torn down. They are here — I am here — the shadows of the things that would have been. folding one of his bed-curtains in his arms.’ Scrooge repeated.

A merry Christmas to everybody. and was now standing there: perfectly winded. I am as merry as a schoolboy. Whoop. a most illustrious laugh. Hallo here.’ cried Scrooge. I’d rather be a baby. There’s the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present. Whoop. Hallo. it’s all true. ‘There’s the saucepan that the gruel was in. ‘There’s the door. Never mind. it was a splendid laugh. There’s the window where I saw the wandering Spirits. and going round the fireplace. I am as giddy as a drunken man. ‘I am as light as a feather.’ Really. I don’t care. ‘I don’t know what day of the month it is. laughing and crying in the same breath.A Christmas Carol ‘I don’t know what to do.’ 128 of 138 . it all happened. Ha ha ha. It’s all right. starting off again. by which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered. I don’t know anything. A happy New Year to all the world. ‘I don’t know how long I’ve been among the Spirits. Hallo here. Hallo.’ He had frisked into the sitting-room.’ said Scrooge. for a man who had been out of practice for so many years. sat. I am as happy as an angel. The father of a long. I’m quite a baby. long line of brilliant laughs. and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings.’ cried Scrooge.

who perhaps had loitered in to look about him. he opened it. Of course they can. They can do anything they like. bell. Hallo. glorious. No fog. ‘I haven’t missed it. Golden sunlight.’ ‘Hallo. stirring. and put out his head. glorious. Oh. sweet fresh air. ‘To-day. ‘Why.A Christmas Carol He was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever heard.’ Scrooge inquired. clash. bright. ‘What’s to-day.’ said Scrooge to himself. ding. at the corner. with all his might of wonder. jovial. Bell. cold. dong. cold. Clash. ‘What’s to-day. Of course they can. ding. in the next street but one.’ cried Scrooge. merry bells.’ ‘It’s Christmas Day.’ returned the boy.’ replied the lad. no mist. calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes. ‘Eh. clang. The Spirits have done it all in one night.’ said Scrooge. Glorious. 129 of 138 . Running to the window. ‘I should hope I did.’ replied the boy. clang. Christmas Day. Heavenly sky. Oh. hammer. my fine fellow.’ returned the boy. dong. my fine fellow. hammer. piping for the blood to dance to. glorious. clear. ‘Do you know the Poulterer’s.

It’s twice the size of Tiny Tim. ‘I am in earnest. and splitting with a laugh. ‘A remarkable boy.’ whispered Scrooge. Yes. He must have had a steady hand at a trigger who could have got a shot off half so fast.’ ‘It’s hanging there now. ‘He shan’t know who sends it.’ The boy was off like a shot.’ said Scrooge.’ ‘Walk-er. Do you know whether they’ve sold the prize Turkey that was hanging up there — Not the little prize Turkey: the big one. ‘What a delightful boy. Come back with him in less than five minutes and I’ll give you half-a-crown. and I’ll give you a shilling. no. Go and buy it. but write it he did. my buck.’ said Scrooge. rubbing his hands.’ exclaimed the boy.’ replied the boy.A Christmas Carol ‘An intelligent boy. Joe Miller never made such a joke as sending it to Bob’s will be. somehow. ‘It’s a pleasure to talk to him. that I may give them the direction where to take it. Come back with the man.’ returned the boy.’ said Scrooge. ‘No. and tell them to bring it here. ‘Go and buy it. the one as big as me.’ The hand in which he wrote the address was not a steady one.’ ‘What.’ said Scrooge. and went 130 of 138 . ‘Is it. ‘I’ll send it to Bon Cratchit’s.

’ cried Scrooge. patting it with his hand. Shaving was not an easy task. How are you. for his hand continued to shake very much. and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy. he would have put a piece of sticking-plaster over it. But if he had cut the end of his nose off. 131 of 138 . as long as I live. even when you don’t dance while you are at it. ‘You must have a cab. ‘Why. He never could have stood upon his legs. ‘I scarcely ever looked at it before. ‘I shall love it. Merry Christmas. Hallo. were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again. ready for the coming of the poulterer’s man. What an honest expression it has in its face. waiting his arrival. like sticks of sealing-wax.’ said Scrooge. and been quite satisfied. — Here’s the Turkey. it’s impossible to carry that to Camden Town.A Christmas Carol down-stairs to open the street door. Whoop. It’s a wonderful knocker. the knocker caught his eye. and chuckled till he cried. that bird. He would have snapped them short off in a minute.’ It was a Turkey. and the chuckle with which he paid for the cab. and the chuckle with which he paid for the Turkey.’ The chuckle with which he said this. and shaving requires attention. As he stood there.

quickening his pace.’ Good morning. ‘My dear sir. in a word. It was very kind of you.’ It sent a pang across his heart to think how this old gentleman would look upon him when they met. that of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard. and taking the old gentleman by both his hands. and walking with his hands behind him. ‘How do you do. A merry Christmas to you. who had walked into his counting-house the day before.A Christmas Carol He dressed himself all in his best. and he took it. ‘That is my name. but he knew what path lay straight before him. A merry Christmas to you. and I fear it may not be pleasant to you.’ Scrooge and Marley’s. those were the blithest in his ears.’ ‘Mr Scrooge.’ said Scrooge. I hope you succeeded yesterday. sir. And 132 of 138 . that three or four goodhumoured fellows said. I believe. Allow me to ask your pardon. and at last got out into the streets. The people were by this time pouring forth. He had not gone far. sir. Scrooge regarded every one with a delighted smile.’ ‘Yes. as he had seen them with the Ghost of Christmas Present. when coming on towards him he beheld the portly gentleman.’ And Scrooge said often afterwards. and said. He looked so irresistibly pleasant.’ said Scrooge.

’ said the other. Will you come and see me. and patted children on the head. and watched the people hurrying to and fro. ‘Not a farthing less. and found that everything could yield him pleasure.’ cried the old gentleman. And it was clear he meant to do it. shaking hands with him.’ said Scrooge.’ retorted Scrooge. A great many back-payments are included in it. ‘My dear Mr Scrooge. and walked about the streets. and looked down into the kitchens of houses.’ ‘Don’t say anything please. ‘I am much obliged to you.’ ‘I will. ‘Lord bless me.’ said Scrooge.’ ‘My dear sir. as if his breath were taken away. ‘Come and see me. and up to the windows.’ cried the gentleman. ‘I don’t know what to say to such munificence. and questioned beggars.’ He went to church. are you serious. I assure you.’ ‘If you please. ‘Thank you. 133 of 138 . I thank you fifty times.A Christmas Carol will you have the goodness’ — here Scrooge whispered in his ear. Bless you. Will you do me that favour. He had never dreamed that any walk — that anything — could give him so much happiness. In the afternoon he turned his steps towards his nephew’s house.

round the door. ‘He’s in the dining-room. how his niece by marriage started.’ 134 of 138 . my love. and did it: ‘Is your master at home. along with mistress. if you please. sir.’ said Scrooge.’ said Scrooge. I’ll show you up-stairs. with his hand already on the dining-room lock. Very. sir.’ ‘Where is he. my dear.’ cried Fred.’ said Scrooge. Dear heart alive. for these young housekeepers are always nervous on such points. But he made a dash. my dear. and like to see that everything is right. about her sitting in the corner with the footstool. ‘Yes. ‘I’ll go in here. on any account. for the moment.’ He turned it gently. before he had the courage to go up and knock. Nice girl. or he wouldn’t have done it.’ said Scrooge to the girl.’ ‘Thank you.A Christmas Carol He passed the door a dozen times. Scrooge had forgotten.’ who’s that. and sidled his face in. ‘Why bless my soul. ‘Fred. They were looking at the table (which was spread out in great array). He knows me.

and edit PDF. wonderful happiness.’ growled Scrooge.’ Let him in. ‘Hallo. His niece looked just the same. So did Topper when he came. ‘It’s I.’ 135 of 138 . Nothing could be heartier. driving away with his pen. he did. ‘What do you mean by coming here at this time of day. Download the free trial version. and catch Bob Cratchit coming late. No Bob. as if he were trying to overtake nine o’clock. I have come to dinner. He was full eighteen minutes and a half behind his time. he was early there. sir. His hat was off. wonderful unanimity. A quarter past. wonderful games. He was at home in five minutes. It is a mercy he didn’t shake his arm off. yes. So did the plump sister when she came. But he was early at the office next morning. in his accustomed voice.’ ‘I am very sorry. ‘I am behind my time. Fred. Will you let me in. Wonderful party. And he did it.’ said Bob.eBook brought to you by A Christmas Carol Create. that he might see him come into the Tank. No Bob. He was on his stool in a jiffy. before he opened the door. Your uncle Scrooge. Oh. his comforter too. view. as near as he could feign it. Scrooge sat with his door wide open. That was the thing he had set his heart upon. So did every one when they came. The clock struck nine. If he could only be there first.

Step this way.’ I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer.’ ‘It’s only once a year. and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i. as he clapped him on the back.’ said Scrooge. ‘A merrier Christmas. sir.’ 136 of 138 . my good fellow. appearing from the Tank. He had a momentary idea of knocking Scrooge down with it. with an earnestness that could not be mistaken. ‘A merry Christmas. I was making rather merry yesterday. Bob. than I have given you for many a year. Make up the fires. Bob.’ Bob trembled. Bob Cratchit. and calling to the people in the court for help and a strait-waistcoat. ‘Yes. my friend. sir. I’ll tell you what. and got a little nearer to the ruler. and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the Tank again. sir. and endeavour to assist your struggling family. if you please.A Christmas Carol ‘You are. I’ll raise your salary.’ and therefore I am about to raise your salary.’ said Scrooge. Bob.’ repeated Scrooge. and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon. And therefore. over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop. ‘It shall not be repeated. leaping from his stool.’ he continued.’ ‘Now. I think you are.’ pleaded Bob. holding him.

he was a second father. and little heeded them. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him. he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins. May that be truly said of us. and as good a man. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him. as have the malady in less attractive forms. if any man alive possessed the knowledge. in the good old world. as good a master. and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway. as Tiny Tim observed. He had no further intercourse with Spirits. God bless Us. and to Tiny Tim. or borough. but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle.A Christmas Carol Scrooge was better than his word. for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe. Every One! 137 of 138 . town. but he let them laugh. ever afterwards. He did it all. He became as good a friend. and all of us! And so. and infinitely more. as the good old city knew. that he knew how to keep Christmas well. for good. and it was always said of him. or any other good old city. who did not die. at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset.

A Christmas Carol 138 of 138 .

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